Better weather on the way, after severe weather passes through the Coast

Cooler, sunny weather is behind the storm system that unleashed strong wind and heavy rain Thursday in South Mississippi and a tornado in north Louisiana, where a mother and son lost their lives.

Harrison County Emergency Manager Rupert Lacy expected storms to clear out from the Coast late Thursday night.

“We’ll get back into decreasing clouds and temperatures a bit warmer,” Lacy said. “We’re looking at the possibility of a good weekend: sunny, pleasant, comfortable temperatures.”

Nights on the Coast should be in the upper 50s to low 60s, the National Weather Service forecasts, with highs in the mid- to upper-70s and plenty of sunshine Saturday and Sunday.

Skies darkened, the Mississippi Sound churned and straight-line winds whipped trees beginning Wednesday morning on the Coast. Rain was expected to continue into the evening.

A potential tornado hit the Kiln community in Hancock County, where numerous trees were downed, Hancock County emergency manager Brian “Hootie” Adam said.

Adam said that straight-line winds could have downed the trees, but he expects the National Weather Service to investigate whether a tornado hit.

April has been a record month for tornadoes in Mississippi. The (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger reported that the NWS has confirmed 40 tornadoes when severe storms moved through April 18, almost matching the total number of tornadoes that hit the state in a normal year.

In Ruston, La., a tornado killed two people Thursday as it tore through the northern Louisiana city, officials said.

The tornado caused severe damage to buildings, vehicles and power lines and forced a local university to cancel classes.

Communications director for the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness Mike Steele said a mother and son in Lincoln Parish, which Ruston lies in, were killed when a tree fell on their home overnight.

Steele said he could not confirm their names or ages. He said those were currently the only deaths reported in Louisiana during the storm, but that rescue workers were still combing the area.

National Weather Service hydrologist C. S. Ross said it appears the tornado cut a track over 130 miles (209 kilometers) from eastern Texas to near the Louisiana-Arkansas border.