Deadly severe storms rake Gulf Coast with 82-mph winds, baseball-sized hail, tornadoes

The storms were blamed for at least two deaths in Louisiana, one in St. Martin Parish and the other in West Baton Rouge Parish.

HENDERSON, La. – Powerful thunderstorms turned deadly Monday as they rumbled across the Gulf Coast, where they produced large hail, damaging winds, heavy rain and reports of tornadoes.

Severe weather alerts stretched from Texas to Florida, with the worst of the storms concentrated along and south of the Interstate 10 corridor. Flooding has also been a problem, especially in southeastern Texas, which is still reeling from extensive flooding brought on by heavy rain for the past couple of weeks.

The storms were blamed for at least two deaths in Louisiana, one of which occurred on the outskirts of Henderson, in St. Martin Parish. The fatality was reported by Henderson Mayor Sherbin Collette, who warned of trees on roads and encouraged residents to stay home as first responders assisted with multiple storm-related calls in the parish.

According to local storm reports received by the National Weather Service, at least two buildings sustained roof damage in St. Martin Parish. One of those buildings was reported to partially collapse, while the other sustained less severe damage. The NWS also received reports of broken 1-inch tree limbs and blown-off roofing shingles.

The second death in Louisiana happened in West Baton Rouge Parish, where a tree fell on a mobile home, killing a 31-year-old pregnant woman inside, according to Sheriff Mike Cazes with the West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office. A man and a 5-year-old child also trapped inside were successfully rescued and taken to the hospital, where they are expected to recover. 


Baseball-sized hail, 82-mph winds and tornadoes reported

Thunderstorms dropped hail up to the size of baseballs in Deep South Texas on Monday. Meanwhile, golf ball-sized hail was reported around Victoria, Texas, with similar-sized hailstones also reported in several places in Florida.

There have been a multitude of reports of trees and power lines being damaged by powerful winds produced by the thunderstorms, with more than 80,000 power outages spread across several Gulf Coast states. The strongest wind gust reported as of Monday evening was 82 mph in Milton, Florida, which rivals wind produced by a Category 1 hurricane.

Waterspouts were reported along the coast of the Florida Panhandle, as well. At least one of them made it ashore near Santa Rosa Beach to become a tornado. No significant damage was reported from the twister.

A possible tornado is being blamed for destruction reported in the area of Lake Charles, Louisiana, where significant damage was reported at a Walmart, stairs were detached from a home and a tractor-trailer overturned on Interstate 10.


A lightning strike caused damage to a runway at Houston's Hobby Airport and forced a closure, officials said. Passengers were urged to contact their airlines for updates on their flights.