More than two dozen tornadoes rake the Deep South, killing 1 person in Louisiana

(WJTV via CNN)

More than two dozen tornadoes touched down in parts of the Deep South on Monday, killing one person in central Louisiana and damaging homes and churches.

Most the tornadoes were reported in Mississippi, with several striking Louisiana, the National Weather Service said.

In Vernon Parish, Louisiana, the storm killed 59-year-old Betty Patin, the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Department said in a Facebook post. Patin was in her mobile home which was destroyed in the tornado, authorities said.

Several churches in Vernon Parish were damaged, authorities said.

Earlier Monday, the National Weather Service issued a tornado emergency, the highest criteria for a tornado warning, for Rapides Parish in Louisiana, which include the town of Alexandria. A large tornado was confirmed near the Alexandria International Airport.

Alexandria police said there were no reports of injuries in the city. Several structures were damaged, police said. Video showed an overturned vehicle and debris.

Multiple houses were damaged or destroyed in Amite County, Mississippi, located on the southern border of Louisiana, Grant McCurley, the county’s director of the emergency management said in an email.

‘We are blessed tonight’

In Lee County, Mississippi, located east of Oxford, some 60 homes and a church were damaged in Guntown, said Paul Harkins, the 911 director for the Lee County Sheriff’s Office. State Sen. Chad McMahan said the church building was unoccupied, CNN affiliate WTVA reported.

“We are blessed tonight, ” Guntown Mayor Bud Herring said about lack of fatalities or serious injuries.

Guntown city officials put in place an overnight curfew because of the downed powerlines and concerns over gas leaks, Herring said.

Harkins said authorities heard reports of damage in other part of the county.

“It’s mostly farm equipment and silos and trees in the roadway, trees into a house,” he said.

‘It’s going to be a long night’

Multiple injuries were reported in Columbia, Mississippi, located west of Hattiesburg, after at least one tornado struck the community, Columbia Police Chief Michael Kelly said.

Kelly said he didn’t know the how many people were injured or the severity of their injuries. Some officers transported people to the emergency room, he said.

“We are just happy at this time that there are no fatalities reported,” Kelly said.

Kelly said several homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed. Police and rescue crews were doing secondary searches to make sure no one was trapped, he said.

“It’s going to be a long night here in Columbia,” he said.