By The Associated Press
JACKSON — Much of southern Louisiana and Mississippi were under flash flood warnings and forecasters were telling residents to expect more rain into the evening hours Saturday.
Utility companies in Mississippi and Louisiana were working to restore power to some areas. Coast Electric Power Association officials were reporting wide spread power outages in Pearl River County. According to company representative Ron Bames, there are more than 7,000 customers without power.
Bames said Coast Electric crews are on scene working to repair the damage. Crews were reporting tree damage as a result of the severe weather.
A tornado watch remained in effect until at least 5 p.m. in Harrison, Hancock and Jackson counties along the Mississippi coast.
There have been no reports of major damage or injuries.
The storm system prompted officials along both coasts to cancel some Mardi Gras activities until Sunday. The city of New Orleans was allowing two parades for Saturday night as were some other areas.
In Mississippi, a tornado watch has been issued by the National Weather Service for Hancock, Harrison, Pearl River and Jackson counties until 3 p.m. Saturday.
In Louisiana, tornado watches expired during the late afternoon but flash flood warnings remained as did the possibility of more heavy rain.
About 1,900 customers in East Baton Rouge and West Baton Rouge parishes were without power as of about 11:30 a.m., said Sheila Pounders, Entergy regional customer service manager.
Another 3,311 customers in Denham Springs and 110 in Gonzales also did not have electricity, Pounders said.
About 1,700 DEMCO users are without power, according to DEMCO’s web site.
The bad weather resulted from a complicated combination of a surface low pressure system that is moving northeast into the area along a frontal boundary between warm and cold air. An atmospheric jetstream draping over this combination is providing the energy necessary to spawn severe thunderstorms, accompanied by damaging winds.
Forecasters said the threat will push further east into the northwest Florida panhandle and south central Alabama by late evening into the early morning hours, with the threat ending by 3 am Sunday.
The greatest severe weather risk later Saturday will be roughly along and south and east of a Wiggins, Miss., to Atmore, Alabama to Greeneville, Alabama line.