MONTGOMERY, Ala. - More than 20 possible tornadoes slashed through the Southeast, killing at least two people Wednesday and damaging homes as a line of intense weather rolled from Texas to Georgia and as far north as Indiana.
More than 40 million people remained at risk Wednesday from the vast storm system, AccuWeather warned.
The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings across a swath of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana early Wednesday as storms slammed the region with heavy rains, high winds and hail.
In Alabama, a possible early morning tornado killed two people just north of Montgomery, county Emergency Management Director Christina Thornton said. Several homes and other buildings received "substantial" damage, she said.
The weather service office in Birmingham confirmed a tornado touched down about 3 a.m. Wednesday. The storm also caused widespread damage in neighboring Elmore County, said Keith Barnett, the county's emergency management director.
"We will be dispatching 2 teams of meteorologists to investigate possible tornado damage today in Montgomery/Elmore and Greene Counties," the office tweeted Wednesday.
In Hale County, a suspected tornado damaged numerous homes overnight. Hale County Emergency Management Director Russell Weeden said more than a third of residents live in highly vulnerable mobile homes.
"I have seen some really nice mobile homes tied down, but they just don't stand a chance against a tornado," Weeden told WBRC-TV.
TORNADOES: Storms hit Mississippi, central Louisiana; 125M in Midwest, Northeast in path of severe winds
At least 2 injured in Louisiana
In Louisiana's rural Caldwell Parish, 130 miles east of Shreveport, at least two people were injured when several homes were damaged by a tornado late Tuesday, said Caldwell Parish Sheriff Clay Bennett.
"Thank you to everyone that came and helped during the storm this evening!" Bennett said in a Facebook post Tuesday, adding "no one was killed" in the storm.
The National Weather Service also confirmed tornados hit the ground in Mississippi on Tuesday evening. In Caledonia, 40 miles northeast of Starkville, authorities were able to free several grocery store customers and employees trapped after an apparent tornado hit.
Tennis ball-size hail stones hammered Tchula, Mississippi, on Tuesday. Mayor Ann Polk took cover in City Hall.
"It was hitting against the window, and you could tell that it was nice-sized balls of it," Polk said.
The weather service office in Jackson said north-central Mississippi was being "pummeled" by heavy rain and thunderstorms early Wednesday.
"Still the chance for isolated storms capable of producing tornadoes impacting our forecasting area as this system moves west," the office tweeted.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 2 killed as tornadoes, dangerous storms sweep across southeast states