Storms force school closings after killing 2 in Louisiana

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Powerful storms that killed a woman and her young daughter in Louisiana drenched Alabama with torrential rains Monday, forcing scores of schools to call off classes.

Forecasters said tornadoes and strong winds were likely from Mississippi to South Carolina. The greatest tornado risk was centered over southern Alabama, the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma said.

Administrators across southern Alabama canceled classes rather than have children traveling to school amid torrential rains. Those public school systems included two of the state’s largest in Mobile and Montgomery.

Forecasters said about 3 inches of rain already had fallen in parts of western Alabama and the National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for the southern end of the state. Alabama Power said more than 27,000 homes and businesses were without electricity.

A tornado flipped a mobile home Sunday in Bruex Bridge, Louisiana, killing a mother and her 3-year-old daughter. The storm also brought hurricane-force winds, large hail and sparked flash flooding. Up to 6 inches of rain fell in some areas.

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 they could get severe weather alerts through Monday.

“It is an extremely dangerous weather event,” he said.

A tornado with peak winds of 110 mph (180 kph) traveled for nearly 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) on the ground in the rural community of Breaux Bridge, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Baton Rouge, the National Weather Service reported.

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