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2 young brothers among 9 killed in destructive tornado outbreak across southern, mid-Atlantic US

By Amanda Schmidt, AccuWeather staff writer
By Kevin Byrne, AccuWeather staff writer
April 16, 2019, 1:56:40 PM EDT


An outbreak of severe weather, including tornadoes, tore across the southern and eastern United States over the weekend, causing at least nine deaths, dozens of injuries and widespread destruction.

Tornado and severe thunderstorm watches and warnings were issued from Texas to as far north as Massachusetts from early Saturday into Monday.

There have been 42 tornadoes confirmed and surveyed by the National Weather Service, including 3 EF3, 10 EF2, 16 EF1, and 13 EF0 tornadoes in eight states from Texas to Pennsylvania.

At least nine people are dead, including three children, after severe weather slammed the region. The fatalities occurred in communities across the South and mid-Atlantic.

At least one person was killed and several more injured in Monroe County, Mississippi, after a large tornado swept through the town of Hamilton on Saturday night. Preliminary reports show an EF2 tornado hit Hamilton with winds of 130 mph. Another tornado track in northern Monroe County near Greenwood Springs is still being investigated.

Monroe County Road Manager Sonny Clay confirmed one death at a news conference on Sunday, according to WVTM. The victim, a 95-year-old man named Roy Ratliff, was killed when a tornado brought a tree down onto his home, according to the Associated Press. A total of 19 people were taken to hospitals for treatment.

In Pollock, Texas, two children were killed after a tree fell on and crushed a vehicle in which they were passengers during a severe thunderstorm. According to Angelina County Sheriff’s Captain Alton Lenderman, 3-year-old Jace Creel and his older brother, 8-year-old Dilynn Creel, were in a car with their parents on DeWitt Hinson Road when the tree came crashing down. The parents survived the tragedy, according to a GoFundMe page set up for the family.

(GoFundMe)

Three-year-old Jace Creel was killed when a tree crashed onto a vehicle he was in with his family in Angelina County, Texas, on Saturday, April 13, 2019.

(GoFundMe)

Eight-year-old Dilynn Creel was killed when a tree crashed onto a vehicle he was in with his family in Angelina County, Texas, on Saturday, April 13, 2019.

(AP Photo/Jim Lytle)

Robert Scott looks through a family Bible that he pulled out of the rubble Sunday, April 14, 2019, from his Seely Drive home outside of Hamilton, Miss.

(AP Photo/Jim Lytle)

Roman Brown, left and Sam Crawford, move part of a shower wall out of their way as they help a friend look for their medicine in their destroyed home Sunday, April 14, 2019, in Hamilton, Miss.

(AP Photo/Jim Lytle)

Leslie Harrington kneels down to help a former neighbor and family friend look for jewelry in her destroyed home along Seely Drive outside of Hamilton, Miss.

(Twitter/ National Weather Service Memphis)

The damage survey results indicate an EF2 tornado in Hamilton, Mississippi, with winds around 130 mph, according to the National Weather Service Memphis office.

(Twitter/ National Weather Service Memphis)

The damage survey results indicate an EF2 tornado in Hamilton, Mississippi, with winds around 130 mph, according to the National Weather Service Memphis office.

(Twitter/ National Weather Service Memphis)

The damage survey results indicate an EF2 tornado in Hamilton, Mississippi, with winds around 130 mph, according to the National Weather Service Memphis office.

(Twitter/ Mississippi Department of Transportation)

Highway 14 between Ebenezer and Highway 17 in Holmes County, Mississippi, is closed due to damage from Saturday’s storm.

(Twitter/ Mississippi Department of Transportation)

Highway 14 between Ebenezer and Highway 17 in Holmes County, Mississippi, is closed due to damage from Saturday’s storm.

(Twitter /@TexasGameWarden)

An unconfirmed tornado wrecked havoc on homes near Alto, Texas on Saturday, April 13, 2019.

(Twitter/@TexasGameMaster)

An unconfirmed tornado that struck near Alto, Texas on Saturday, April 13, 2019 knocked over trees, blocking off a large stretch of the road.

(Twitter/@TexasGameWarden)

An unconfirmed tornado caused significant tree damage near Alto, Texas on Saturday, April 13, 2019.

(Twitter/@TexasGameWarden)

An unconfirmed tornado wrecked havoc on residential units near Alto, Texas on Saturday, April 13, 2019.

(Twitter/OleMissEvie)

Strong winds downed trees in Texas as a result of the severe storms.

(Twitter/OleMissEvie)

Strong winds downed trees in Texas as a result of the severe storms.

(Twitter /@JColbyCallaway)

Hail reaching baseball-proportions fell on Stonewall Ranch in San Antonio, Texas late Saturday morning, April 13, 2019.

(Twitter/Greg Derkowski)

Hail ranging from the size of golf balls to baseballs briefly fell over Helotes, Texas, late Saturday morning.

(Twitter/@jenheir1)

Hail with spikes fell over The Colony, Texas, earlier on Saturday during the severe weather that swept through the state

(Twitter/@jenheir1)

Hail with spikes fell over The Colony, Texas, late Saturday morning during the severe weather that swept across the state.

(Twitter/@mattm01_m)

The size of hail falling over San Antonio late Saturday morning varied, ranging from the size ping pong balls to baseballs.

(Twitter/Jamie and Robert Gober)

Tornado that hit Franklin, Texas, late Saturday morning caused significant damage to houses and other property.

(Twitter/Jamie and Robert Gober)

Winds from the tornado that hit Franklin, Texas, late Saturday morning tore away parts of a roof. The tornado caused significant property damage in the area.

(Twitter/Jamie and Robert Gober)

The tornado that struck Franklin, Texas, late Saturday morning caused significant tree damage.

(Twitter /Jamie and Robert Gober)

The tornado that struck Franklin, Texas, late Saturday morning toppled and tore up trees, endangering nearby homes.

(Twitter/Cindy Kelly)

Baseball size hail briefly fell over Helotes, Texas, late Saturday morning.

(Twitter/Cindy Kelly)

Two pieces of hail that fell in Helotes, Texas, late Saturday morning dwarf a penny.

(Twitter/@713BobbyB)

Torn and twisted, parts of homes, trees and power lines lay mangled in the aftermath of the tornado that struck Franklin, Texas, late Saturday morning.

(Twitter/@713BobbyB)

Trailer homes were torn apart by the tornado that hit Franklin, Texas, late Saturday morning.

(Twitter/@713BobbyB)

The tornado that struck Franklin, Texas, tore through buildings and scattered debris.

(Twitter/Cindy Kelly)

Two pieces of hail that had fallen on Helotes, Texas, late Saturday morning compared to a penny.

(Twitter/@AvoidTIMtation)

Hail that fell over Helotes, Texas, ranged from the size of a golf ball to the size of a baseball.

(Facebook/Tony Bendele)

Storm damage in Benton Township, Pennsylvania.

(Facebook/Tony Bendele)

A tree that landed on a vehicle during severe storms in Benton Township, Pennsylvania.

(Facebook/Tony Bendele)

Major property damage that happened during a severe thunderstorm in Benton Township, Pennsylvania.

(Facebook / Shelia Hall Templeton)

Sebastian Omar Martinez, 13, was found dead during a flash flood near Monroe, Louisiana.


Flash flooding caused road closures and damage in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, Saturday. Two people drowned in floodwaters in the parish, Deputy Glenn Springfield told the AP. Thirteen-year-old Sebastian Omar Martinez was found dead in a drainage canal Bawcomville, near Monroe, after drowning during the flash flooding, according to Fox10. Motorists were being told to avoid travel as several cars had become stranded in floodwaters.

Two additional deaths were confirmed in Texas on Sunday. One woman died after suffering critical injuries on Saturday after a tornado ripped through Caddo Mound State Historical Site, the AP said. Additionally, one person was killed in the town of Weches, located in neighboring Houston County.

More than a dozen people were injured in Alto, Texas, when a tornado damaged several structures, including the gym of the town's elementary school.

One fatality was reported in Alabama. A Jefferson County worker was killed early Sunday when he was struck by a vehicle after trying to remove a downed tree from a road, AL.com reported.

A 78-year-old woman was killed early Monday morning after being pinned under a tree that came crashing down on her home in Stafford, Virginia, according to WJLA. An 82-year-old man who was also sleeping in the home suffered non life-threatening injuries.

The storm struck the southern U.S. along the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday. States, including Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi, were among the hardest hit.

The storm reports spread up the East Coast on Sunday, affecting states from Florida up to upstate New York and Massachusetts. Midwestern states, including Ohio and Indiana, were also burdened with the storm’s wrath.

The severe weather was not only significant in terms of scale and the area impacted, but also in terms of the damages that occurred throughout the weekend, as cracked roads, downed power lines and trees, and flattened buildings were left behind the outbreak.

Mississippi was among the hardest-hit states on Saturday. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency and met the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) on Sunday to report on the damage across the state. Seventeen of the state’s 82 counties reported damages from the severe storms with the worst damage in Monroe and Warren counties.

On Monday morning, Bryant and MEMA officials visited Hamilton to survey the affected areas.

In Warren County, two EF2 tornadoes were confirmed to have touched down in Vicksburg, Mississippi, around 5 p.m. local time on Saturday. Both tornadoes had peak winds around 115 to 120 mph, and neither tornado resulted in any deaths or injuries.

AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer followed the storm in Canton, Mississippi, where lightning struck right in front of him. Timmer also captured the damage caused by the tornadoes in Vicksburg.


Texas communities were also struck with powerful tornadoes, strong winds and hail on Saturday. Nearly 75,000 power outages were reported throughout the state on Saturday evening due to the severe storms.

The small city of Franklin, located in Robertson County, was the victim of a large preliminary EF3 tornado with winds of 140 mph that blasted through the town during the late-morning hours on Saturday, spreading significant damage.

Robertson County officials told KBTX that 55 homes, one church, four businesses, a duplex and part of the local housing authority were destroyed by the tornado. The south side of Franklin was "totally destroyed," County Judge Charles Ellison stated.

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Debris covering roads hindered rescue crews from reaching some areas. About 30 people who escaped the tornado without injuries are now staying at a shelter set up in the town. More than a dozen people were injured, but there were no fatalities in this town.


A powerful thunderstorm unloaded hail as large as 3 inches in diameter north of San Antonio on Saturday morning. Slightly larger than a baseball, hail of this size can cause significant damage and endanger people and animals without shelter. Large hail of similar sizes also pounded areas north of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.

Two tornadoes were confirmed in Pike County, Alabama, on Sunday morning, damaging mobile homes, overturning vehicles and downing power poles, according to NWS.

As the storms continued along its path on Sunday and early Monday morning, numerous incidents were reported farther north.

On Sunday afternoon, six people were injured after a confirmed tornado hit Shelby, Ohio, according to the AP. Several homes and businesses in the area were damaged.

In Pennsylvania, an EF1 tornado was confirmed near Buffalo Valley in East Buffalo Township in Union County around midnight on Monday, the NWS office in State College, Pennsylvania, reports. The initial damage was surveyed at the Buffalo Valley United Methodist Church, where trees uprooted or snapped, and a barn was destroyed. Homes sustained minor damage with additional barn roofs blown off.

A second confirmed tornado occurred on Sunday night in Warren County, Pennsylvania, causing significant damage at the intersection of Preston Road and U.S. Route 6 in Starbrick. Carter Lumber Company sustained extensive damage and a boat was lifted off the ground according to an NWS report.

Also in Pennsylvania, strong winds damaged the Millersburg headquarters of Ark Safety, a manufacturer of products that help keep manual labor workers safe, early Monday morning. According to a Facebook post by the company, a large portion of the warehouse was impacted by the storm.

Additional reporting by AccuWeather Staff Writer Chaffin Mitchell and Senior Meteorologist Kristina Pydynowski.

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