The bodies of a mother and her young son were recovered on Wednesday hours after a tornado destroyed their home as it ripped through a rural town in northwest Louisiana – one of a swarm of twisters unleashed during the heavy winter storm system sweeping the United States.
First responders found the 8-year-old boy’s remains in a wooded area about a half mile (800 meters) away from his home in Keithville, Louisiana, a town of 300 people, after the tornado struck late on Tuesday night, the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office said in a written statement.
His mother’s body was discovered at about 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday, under debris one street away from the destroyed house, the sheriff’s office said. An adult male injured in the storm was transported to a local hospital, where the extent of his injuries was unknown.
“I am heartbroken to learn of the mother and child who were killed in Southwest Caddo Parish due to one of numerous reported tornados,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said in a statement posted to Twitter. “My prayers go out to the family as well as those who were injured or lost their homes”
The tornado was one of 18 twisters reported in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi overnight on Tuesday into Wednesday that injured more than two dozen people and left homes in ruins.
In New Iberia, Louisiana, at least one person was injured and multiple others were pulled from debris after a tornado touched down in the city some 70 miles (113 km) southwest of Baton Rouge, police said. Multiple homes and a hospital were damaged, the New Iberia police confirmed on Facebook.
Police warned residents to stay away from the damaged area as rescue efforts were under way.
“We have received reports of a tornado that hit Killona,” the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office said on Twitter shortly before 1 p.m. central time (2 p.m. ET). “Responding deputies have advised of heavy damage to residences in the area of Schoolhouse Road. Deputies are checking residences.”
The sprawling winter storm has swept across the heart of the United States over the last two days, leaving parts of the Upper Plains and Midwest buried under blowing snow, closing schools and making roads impassible.
The storm system has prompted dozens of flight cancellations and delays at airports across the region and threatened to cover parts of the East Coast with ice and snow into Thursday.