Hundreds of thousands of residents in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi remained without power Friday following severe weather Thursday afternoon and deadly tornadoes in north Texas.
A tornado tore through the Texas Panhandle town of Perryton, killing three people, injuring dozens more and causing widespread damage as another series of fierce storms carved its way through Southern states. A person in Florida was killed Thursday and a man in Mississippi died early Friday, local outlets reported.
First responders from surrounding towns and cities and neighboring Oklahoma descended on Perryton, which is home to more than 8,000 people and located about 115 miles northeast of Amarillo, just south of the Oklahoma line.
Mobile home communities faced extensive damage, as did much of Perryton’s downtown area.
Elsewhere in Texas and the southern United States, residents are being told to prepare for extreme heat through the weekend. The National Weather Service predicted temperatures will rise as high as the 110s.
Scorching temperatures in southern Texas and parts of coastal Louisiana “will represent a 15-25 degree anomaly for this time of year,” the weather service said Friday.
Current US weather watches, warnings map
Deaths, severe tornado damage in Texas, Florida and Mississippi
Early Friday, officials in Perryton, Texas lifted a curfew, which was enacted due to the widespread destruction and downed utility lines. Officials warned the downed lines would be difficult to see in the dark.
Officials in Perryton said three people were killed and more than 50 were hospitalized Thursday. Local officials added two people were missing as of Thursday night.
In Escambia County, Florida, one person was killed Thursday when a tornado caused a tree to fall on a home, county spokesperson Andie Gibson told the Pensacola News Journal, part of the USA TODAY Network.
A man in Canton, Mississippi, died after a tree fell on him during stormy weather early Friday. Canton Police Chief Otha Brown told WLBT-TV the man was killed after high winds toppled a tree onto his carport as he was entering his car.
In Perryton, Texas, mobile homes were ripped apart and pickup trucks with shattered windshields were slammed against mounds of rubble in residential areas.
Perryton’s downtown was also walloped. About two blocks of businesses were heavily damaged, including an office supply store, a floral shop and a hair salon along the town’s Main Street. A minivan was shoved into the outer wall of a theater.
The roof of a bank in Lavon, Texas, collapsed after storms rolled through the area on Thursday evening, according to footage shared on social media. The town is over 400 miles away from Perryton, near Dallas. ABC News journalist Mike Forbes posted a video to Twitter of a branch of Independent Financial bank that was decimated by the storm.
In the video, the roof of a large wing of the bank building can be seen lying on the ground.
Dangerously high temps in the South
Much of southern Texas, including Corpus Christi, Laredo and Victoria, are under excessive heat warnings from noon until 8 p.m.
The National Weather Service predicts the heat index there could reach 115 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Southeastern Louisiana is also on alert for dangerously high temperatures Friday, with New Orleans, Baton Rouge and Lafayette expected to experience a heat index of up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
The weather service Friday strongly urged people to “drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun and check up on relatives and neighbors.”
“Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances,” the weather service said.
Contributing: Jim Little, Pensacola News Journal; The Associated Press