There have been 53 reports of tornadoes since early Tuesday in seven states, including three confirmed whirlwinds in Louisiana that killed three people.
Reports came in from Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. So far, 20 have been confirmed — one in Oklahoma, one in Mississippi, four in Louisiana and 14 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Typically, a report is made by residents or law enforcement officers who spot a tornadoes or areas of damage. The National Weather Service then sends out crews to survey the damage and assign a wind speed if it is determined that a tornado did touch down.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards surveyed damage Thursday in Iberia Parish, where 13 people were hospitalized. Only one person required in-patient care. There were no reports of deaths, he said at a news conference.
"This has been a very difficult couple of days for our state," Edwards said, noting that tornadoes were "spread all over the state."
Three people were killed in the state: Allison Alexander, who was found dead outside her home in St. Charles Parish, and Nikolus Little, 8, and his mother, Yoshiko Smith. he Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office said the mother and son were killed when a tornado destroyed their home in Keithville. Nikolus was found dead in some woods, and his mother’s body was found hours later under a pile of debris.
Edwards said news of the deaths was "extremely tragic."
St. Charles Parish President Matthew Jewell said 55 structures were damaged, 21 of which have been deemed uninhabitable.
"Our focus now is to ensure that our residents have exactly what they need for the cleanup process," he said at a news conference Thursday afternoon.
In Oklahoma and Texas, the National Weather Service continued to assess the damage Thursday. A family's home was destroyed in Wayne, about 50 miles southeast of Oklahoma City, KOKH-TV of Oklahoma City reported.
Justina Reaves told the station that her sister and her sister's family lived in the home and took cover in the basement.
"They were in the basement, and then she said on the phone, 'I think our house is getting hit,'" Reaves said. "I said, 'Just stay put, it’s not over,' and then she screamed out 'Our house is hit,' and then the phone went dead."
Reaves said her husband helped dig them out of the basement. No one in the family was injured.
A Sam's Club and Grapevine Mills Mall in Texas were damaged Tuesday after severe thunderstorms resulted in a tornado’s hitting Grapevine, about 25 miles from the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Five people were injured, NBC Dallas Fort-Worth reported.
CORRECTION (Dec. 15, 2022, 10:05 p.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated who reported that a home had been destroyed in Wayne, Oklahoma. It was KOKH-TV of Oklahoma City, not NBC Montana.