VIDEO: Tornado touches down in Alabama
(CNN) — Powerful storms pounded cities and towns across the South on Christmas Day, leaving at least two people dead and others injured.
A tornado struck Mobile, Alabama, according to the local National Weather Service office.
A tower camera for CNN affiliate WALA showed a large wedge tornado moving through the city.
“You could see it forming … and then it came behind the church and then (there was) all green fluorescent lighting and it was like popping transformers left and right,” a witness told WALA. “You heard crashing and then the power went out.”
Chris Ross, who was at work at Chickasaw Container Services, said he saw the tornado pass about 300 yards from his location.
“I was just praying for the people who were north as the tornado was headed that way, because I saw the wind and trees and debris in the air. I knew it was going to be bad,” he said.
There were no initial reports of injuries, a spokesman for Mobile Fire-Rescue said.
Several buildings, including a church and a high school, were damaged by the tornado, and there were several car wrecks, Steve Huffman said.
“One female was transported to the hospital with pregnancy issues, but she was not injured,” he said.
A spokeswoman with the the Alabama Emergency Management Agency said at least three counties were affected.
“We are still getting damage reports,” Yasamie August said. “We know that Mobile County has significant damage from trees down and power lines down. Most of that is concentrated around Government Street. Choctaw and Clarke counties are also reporting damage.
“The city of Prichard had one person injured due to the home they were in,” she said.
In Clarke County, high winds shoved a barn onto U.S. Highway 43, Emergency Management Director Roy Waite said.
Nearly 21,500 customers in Mobile were without power, Alabama Power said on its Twitter feed. Statewide, there were 26,600 homes and business in the dark. More than 84,000 customers in Arkansas and about 4,000 in Louisiana were without power late Tuesday, officials said.
A 25-year-old man in Texas was killed after a tree fell on his pickup as he was driving on the northwest side of Houston, Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Gilliland said. Officials suspected high winds knocked the tree down.
A 28-year-old woman from Woodward, Oklahoma, was killed in an accident on a snow-covered two-lane highway.
Amanda Goodman was ejected from the SUV she was riding in after the driver lost control and struck an oncoming big rig, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said. Goodman died at the scene while the driver and a 4-year-old passenger were taken to a hospital. They were listed in stable condition. The truck driver was not injured.
An apparent tornado touched down near downtown Alexandria, Louisiana, police said. One person was injured and more than a dozen buildings suffered significant damage, Lt. Paul Ellington of Alexandria police said.
Homes in Pearl River County in central Mississippi were damaged when a storm passed through Tuesday afternoon, the director of the county’s emergency management department said. Danny Manley said one person suffered minor injuries and power was out in many homes. U.S. Highway 84 in Lawrence County was shut down because of downed power lines and debris.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, said conditions remained favorable for a few powerful or long-lasting tornadoes in southern and eastern Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and southwest Georgia. It is also forecast thunderstorm wind damage for parts of the Southeast into the early morning hours Wednesday.
CNN’s Sarah Dillingham, Carma Hassan, Mariano Castillo, Joe Sutton and Steve Brusk contributed to this report.