A tornado flipped a mobile home Sunday in Louisiana, killing a mother and her 3-year-old daughter as a storm system with hurricane-force winds crawled across the Deep South, damaging homes and businesses. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards put the entire state on "high alert" and warned residents to stay off the roads. He urged people to keep their cellphones charged and close by so that they could get severe weather alerts through Monday, the AP reports. "It is an extremely dangerous weather event," he said. Parts of Arkansas and Mississippi were also under a threat of tornadoes, but the bull's-eye was on much of Louisiana. The system packed heavy rain and large hail and sparked flash flooding.
A tornado with peak winds of 110mph traveled for nearly a mile on the ground in the rural community of Breaux Bridge, about 50 miles west of Baton Rouge, the National Weather Service reported. St. Martin Parish Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Maj. Ginny Higgins tells the AP that the tornado touched down soon after a warning was issued. "Seconds later it hit," Higgins says. "It hit the trailer, flipped it, and tore its side off. There was a mother and daughter inside and both were killed." Higgins says 38-year-old Francine Gotch and 3-year-old Nevaeh Alexander were pronounced dead at the scene. Witnesses told KLFY-TV that the father was at the store when the storm hit and returned home to find the bodies amid the splintered debris.