Tornadoes kill 3, injure dozens in Louisiana, Mississippi

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Tornadoes and Severe Weather Threat Continue for SE

BATON ROUGE, La. (Reuters) -- Several tornadoes lashed southern Louisiana and Mississippi on Tuesday, killing at least three people and injuring more than 30 as the storms destroyed dozens of homes and businesses and toppled a water tower, weather and emergency officials said.

Hardest hit in Louisiana was the Mississippi River hamlet of Convent, where 90 percent of the estimated 160 mobile homes at the Sugar Hill trailer park were demolished, state police superintendent Colonel Mike Edmonson told a news conference.

Governor John Bel Edwards said two people were known to have died at the trailer park and two or three others were reported unaccounted for. Rescue crews with dogs combed through debris searching for anyone who might have been trapped.

See more from the storm below:

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Tornadoes kill 3, injure dozens in Louisiana, Mississippi
Director of Emergency Operations for St. James Parish Blaise Gravois talks on the phone at Sugar Hill RV Park following a storm in Convent, La., Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. Tornadoes and severe weather ripped through the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, mangling trailers at an RV park and ripping off roofs from buildings in Louisiana and Mississippi, authorities said. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Destroyed trailers and vehicles are all that remain of the Sugar Hill RV Park after a suspected tornado hit the park in Convent, La., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin says authorities are using dogs to search piles of rubble left in the wake of the storm to find anyone else still missing under the debris. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
This photo released by Col. Mike Edmonson, superintendent of Louisiana State Police, shows an aerial view shows destruction in Convent, La., Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016, after a suspected tornado moved through the area Tuesday night. Tornadoes and severe weather ripped through the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, mangling trailers and ripping off roofs from buildings in Louisiana and Mississippi, authorities said. (Col. Mike Edmonson/Louisiana State Police via AP)
Greg Bellanger nails a tarp in place with help from co-workers Gilbert Ortiz, above, and Darren Miller, at right, after a tornado ripped through the area the day before in LaPlace, La., Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. Tornadoes and severe weather ripped through the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, mangling trailers at an RV park, ripping off roofs from buildings and killing several people in Louisiana and Mississippi, authorities said. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Burt Miller hammers a piece of particle board over broken windows at the home of his parents after a tornado ripped through the area the day before in LaPlace, La., Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
A home in LaPlace, La., stands severely damaged by tornadoes and severe weather that swept through the area the day before, on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. Tornadoes and severe weather ripped through the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, mangling trailers at an RV park, ripping off roofs from buildings and killing at least three people in Louisiana and Mississippi, authorities said.(AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Alvin Guillard, of Laplace, La., cuts a tree that has fallen on his home, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016 in LaPlace, La. Tornadoes ripped through the RV park in Louisiana and significantly damaged nearly 100 homes and apartments in Florida as a deadly storm system rolled across the South, and forecasters warned that more twisters were possible Wednesday along the East Coast. (AP photo/Rebecca Santana)
Wreckage of the Sugar Hill RV Park is scattered following a storm in Convent, La., Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. Tornadoes and severe weather ripped through the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, mangling trailers at an RV park, ripping off roofs from buildings in Louisiana and Mississippi, authorities said. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Wreckage of the Sugar Hill RV Park is scattered following a storm in Convent, La., Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. Tornadoes and severe weather ripped through the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, mangling trailers at an RV park and ripping off roofs from buildings in Louisiana and Mississippi, authorities said. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Wreckage of the Sugar Hill RV Park is scattered in Convent, La., Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. Tornadoes and severe weather ripped through the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, mangling trailers at an RV park, ripping off roofs from buildings in Louisiana and Mississippi, authorities said. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards talks to the media after he inspected the remains of trailers and vehicles after a suspected tornado hit the Sugar Hill RV Park in Convent, La., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. Edwards described the scene as a "jumbled mess." "We all need to be prayerful and mindful and take those tornado warnings when we see them very seriously," Edwards said. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Destroyed trailers and vehicles are all that remain of the Sugar Hill RV Park after a suspected tornado hit in Convent, La., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. Authorities were still looking for people possibly trapped under the debris, St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin said. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Destroyed trailers and vehicles are all that remain of the Sugar Hill RV Park after a suspected tornado hit in Convent, La., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. Tornadoes and severe weather ripped through southern Louisiana and Mississippi on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Destroyed trailers and vehicles are all that remain of the Sugar Hill RV Park after a suspected tornado hit in Convent, La., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin says authorities are using dogs to search piles of rubble left in the wake of the storm to find anyone else still missing under the debris. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
First responders search the remains of trailers and vehicles after a suspected tornado hit the Sugar Hill RV Park in Convent, La., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin says authorities are using dogs to search piles of rubble left in the wake of the storm to find anyone else still missing under the debris. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
A helicopter and first responders search the remains of trailers and vehicles after a suspected tornado hit the Sugar Hill RV Park in Convent, La., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin says authorities are using dogs to search piles of rubble left in the wake of the storm to find anyone else still missing under the debris. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
First responders search the remains of trailers and vehicles after a suspected tornado hit the Sugar Hill RV Park in Convent, La., Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016. St. James Parish Sheriff Willy Martin says authorities are using dogs to search piles of rubble left in the wake of the storm to find anyone else still missing under the debris. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Update: Mutual Aid From Surrounding Counties Responding To Pensacola Area After Devastating Tornado Makes Impact. https://t.co/GT4yoaHGAe
@OBWeather @NWSMobile here's a screen grab from that Pensacola tornado video. Looks like the real deal. https://t.co/xYsqYEG8cy
Breaking: First Responders Report "Massive Damage" And Impassable Roads After Tornado Hits Pensacola, Florida. https://t.co/fDCuKz9JWE
Friend's Laplace neighborhood suffered tornado damage! https://t.co/2tMWMzrXfv
Gut-wrenching picture of the leveled mobile home park in Convent after a #tornado via @FOX8NOLA. #LAwx https://t.co/QIuya7kr8C
well dam. https://t.co/MNdRuzevwL
more pictures of damage in Paincourtville, la https://t.co/qM4B7aCvEW
Water tower down in Assumption parish after a reported tornado was on the ground @WAFB @SteveWAFB https://t.co/GBVCqDl1YB
Tornado damage in Laplace's river land heights. Dozens of homes destroyed. Fences tossed into trees @FOX8NOLA https://t.co/69wdrndln9
Convent , La sending prayers from Port Vincent and the Rogers #tornado https://t.co/n73g6GJYA1
This is somethin! Tornado/Waterspout over Lake Pontchartrain https://t.co/WEqcCgS948
Wall cloud and likely tornado SW of poplarville https://t.co/Eupnqoz8Hc
Potential #tornado spotted in Louisiana – see the raw video. #LAwx https://t.co/XBvtM2XMJX
Tornado just as it passed through Livingston, LA. @NWSNewOrleans #tornado #lawx https://t.co/VK48TEAMNy
@SteveWAFB https://t.co/DB7BhoHlZN Video of the tornado passing over i10 Baton Rouge/ Prairieville
#breaking witnesses say they saw a tornado in Ascension parish. This is the new Gold's Gym on Airline Hwy. @WBRZ https://t.co/tjsbSDy0nb
#tornado in Prairieville at Popeye's https://t.co/9CJGjkN7L8
WOW! 3 waterspouts earlier this afternoon off the coast of New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo: WWL-TV. #Tornado #LAwx https://t.co/EdB7YzIwtx
That tornado tore Prairieville up 😭😳 https://t.co/gRq4JdUplZ
#Laplace tornado. Winn Dixie parking lot. #Louisiana https://t.co/3jKOAUuCJP
Photo from 70 & 1: 2 homes destroyed, 2 businesses severely damaged, water tower down #tornado https://t.co/ToJFDnh6qc
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Authorities said they hoped the missing might turn up later in area hospitals or elsewhere among the survivors in Convent, located about 60 miles (100 km) west of New Orleans.

"These travel trailers were picked up, thrown a considerable distance and just mangled," Edwards said after surveying the damage. He said it was "a minor miracle" the casualty toll was not higher because most of the trailers were occupied when the storm hit.

The National Weather Service confirmed one other fatality near the southern Mississippi town of Purvis, where a mobile home was destroyed.

Acadian ambulance services in Louisiana said it had transported 31 people to area hospitals in St. James Parish, most of them from the trailer park, and five others from neighboring parishes, according to the agency's Twitter feed.

Watch more coverage below:

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There were additional reports of survivors being taken to hospitals in private cars, and other ambulance operators were responding to the emergency, indicating the tally of injuries would likely climb higher.

The governor declared a state of emergency in seven parishes that bore the brunt of the storms.

The storm system posed a continuing tornado threat as it swept east through the night across Mississippi and into Alabama, said Mike Efferson, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in New Orleans.

Storms were expected to hit southwestern Georgia by midnight and could reach Atlanta and central Georgia before the morning rush hour on Wednesday, meteorologist Adam Baker said.

Tens of thousands of customers were without power in Louisiana at the height of the storms, according to Entergy Louisiana, the main electricity supplier in the area.

In Louisiana's Assumption Parish, a tornado knocked down a water tower and damaged homes, said Deputy Robert Martin of the sheriff's office.

Up to 20 homes were reported destroyed, and firefighters rescued residents with minor injuries from four homes, said John Boudreaux, director of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness in Assumption Parish.

Residents reported damage to homes from tornadoes and golf ball-sized hail on the Mississippi Gulf Coast as the system barreled across the U.S. South, Efferson said.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryan declared a state of emergency for areas expected to be affected by the storm.

Schools and government offices canceled classes or closed early in Louisiana and Mississippi as severe weather warnings lined up from Louisiana to Florida and Georgia.

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