Some Schools, Government Offices Close for Severe Weather

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Schools and government offices were closed Wednesday in some Gulf Coast states, where severe storms were expected to bring the potential for tornadoes and devastating wind gusts.

Severe thunderstorms were expected across parts of the Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle and there was the potential for tornadoes, a few of which may be strong, and damaging winds, which may exceed 75 mph (120 kph), the National Weather Service warned.

Heavy rain, tornadoes, hail and damaging wind gusts were all possible across the Gulf Coast and the Deep South on Wednesday, according to meteorologist Ashton Robinson Cook with the NWS Weather Prediction Center.

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In Texas, several people were rescued from homes and vehicles Wednesday morning when flooding inundated parts of Jasper County, near the Louisiana line, authorities said.

“The City of Kirbyville remains under water and is still the major concern at this time,” the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office said on social media.

All major roads into Kirbyville, a town of about 2,000 people, were shut down early Wednesday due to the flooding, the sheriff’s office said.

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In Louisiana, state office buildings closed Wednesday since the storms were expected to blast the state during rush hour, the governor’s office announced. They also asked drivers to limit travel if possible and warned that high winds were expected to affect large trucks.

One of the nation’s largest universities – Louisiana State University – announced its campus would close Wednesday due to “the developing severe weather situation.” Residence halls were remaining open.

As the workday began Wednesday morning in Louisiana, more than 100,000 customers were already without power, according to, which tracks outages nationwide. Another 30,000 customers were without power in Mississippi.

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A vigorous storm system that developed across the southern Rockies and moisture moving across the Gulf of Mexico combined to produce a series of thunderstorms from Texas’ south plains and panhandle eastward across Louisiana and Mississippi, Robinson Cook said.

There was hail in central Texas on Tuesday and radar estimates of up to a foot of rainfall over the past 24 hours, with heavier totals just northwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana, Robinson Cook said.

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