Tornadoes have wreaked a destructive path across parts of Louisiana and Texas, trapping some people in their homes.
One of those tornadoes swept near the historic village of Salado, Texas on Tuesday evening, damaging homes in rural areas of Bell County between Waco and Austin, said County Judge David Blackburn.
Photos and videos on social media showed grapefruit-size hail from the storm pounding the area. Images also showed mobile homes crushed by trees felled during the tornado. While a number of residents were trapped, there were no reports of injuries.
More than 57,000 homes in Louisiana and 48,000 homes in Texas are without power on Wednesday, according to PowerOutage.US. The storm was part of a system of severe storms extending from Austin to the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
The National Weather Service in Little Rock, Arkanas reported strong storms moving across the state on Wednesday morning, with potential for damaging winds, large hail, and tornadoes.
There is much debate among scientists on whether the climate crisis is playing a role in tornado outbreaks.
Twisters are tricky to study partly because they are relatively short-lived. In the years before cell phones, data largely relied on people spotting tornadoes and calling them into the National Weather Service.
However the body of research is growing. A study in 2014 from the National Severe Storms Laboratory found that in the past 50 years, clusters of tornadoes have become more common.
A separate 2018 study found that over the past four decades, America’s “Tornado Alley” appears to be shifting towards the East Coast, away from typical paths through Kansas and Oklahoma.
AP contributed to this report