Severe weather has struck parts of the southern United States, with apparent tornadoes causing damage in Texas and Louisiana. CBS News has confirmed five weather-related deaths in the two states.
The National Weather Service has issued tornado and severe thunderstorm watches for large portions of Louisiana and Mississippi as the storm moves east. "Severe thunderstorms capable of damaging winds, large hail, and a few tornadoes will be likely Thursday into Thursday night over the Deep South and northern Gulf Coast," the service said.
Three people — a mother and her two children — died in Erath County, Texas, early Wednesday when their car was swept away by what The Associated Press reported was flash flooding. Two people are also confirmed dead in the Louisiana city of Ruston after a tree fell on a home.
As of Wednesday morning, there were more than 15,000 power outages in Louisiana and more than 2,700 in Texas.
According to AccuWeather, heavy rain hit parts of western and northern Texas on Tuesday and Wednesday, with some regions receiving up to 6 inches of rain. CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV reported that a likely tornado touched down in the city of Bryan on Wednesday, causing damage to homes and buildings.
A tornado also appeared to hit Ruston, Louisiana, where Louisiana Tech University closed on Thursday. It said in a tweet that significant damage occurred as the storm traveled through its campus Wednesday evening.
The National Weather Service expects the severe weather and heavy rain storms to shift toward the mid-Atlantic and southeast Friday.