Tornado strikes Louisiana where mother says daughter and grandson died

Deadly storm in Louisiana

Ruston, La. — Millions are threatened Thursday night from a new round of powerful storms sweeping through the south. The storms have already left at least five dead in two states. Ruston, Louisiana, took a direct hit from an EF-3 tornado.

The tornado ripped through the area with winds over 136 miles per hour, uprooting trees and downing power lines.

The storm hit around 2 a.m. while people were sleeping, tearing the roofs off several homes and businesses.

Cathey Jackson's daughter and 14-year-old grandson were killed when a tree fell on their home.

"They did what they were supposed to do. They got in the middle of the home. They were away from all the windows. They did what they were supposed to do," Jackson told CBS affiliate KSLA-TV.

Just spent the last half hour visiting with the Jackson/Butler family. Cathy Jackson’s daughter and grandson were killed...

Posted by Doug Warner KSLA on Thursday, April 25, 2019

Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency.

"Obviously it's some of the worst devastation we've seen to be concentrated," he said.

The storm system started in east Texas on Wednesday, covering 150 miles. Bryan and San Augustine, Texas, took a direct hit from tornadoes.

Just five minutes before the tornado hit Ruston, Brittney Fletcher was awakened by a text message alert. If she hadn't have taken cover, she would've been covered in glass.

"It blew the door open. It blew my front door open and it was dead bolted!" Fletcher told CBS News.

In the next 24 hours, the storm will push east dumping more rain and kicking up high winds in Georgia, Alabama and Florida. While some people here in Ruston are already starting to repair the damage, the owner of a hard-hit motel said that's not possible. The building was so heavily damaged that they plan to tear it down and rebuild.

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Tornado damage seen Thu., April 25, 2019. KSLA-TV
  • Mireya Villarreal

    Mireya Villarreal is a CBS News correspondent.