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ON STANDBY: County bracing for weather impact

With just hours to go until severe weather hits Pike County, officials are bracing to deal with the aftermath.

“We’re on standby,” said EMA Director Herb Reeves. “We’re opening the emergency operations center tonight monitoring and watching to see what we’ve got. The City has made adjustments in schedules for first responders. We’re at the point where we’re just waiting to see what it’s going to do when it crosses the line now.”

The storms come just days after another strong storm system spawned tornadoes across the southeast, including an EF1 that carved through Troy early Sunday morning.

The National Weather Service issued a series of tornado warnings about a system pushing eastward across Louisiana, where strong storms covered much of the state.

A tornado watch reached from coastal Louisiana into central Mississippi, and more weather alerts were likely. Flood warnings reached as far north as central Indiana.

Dozens of schools dismissed students early as a precaution in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, where the threat was expected to continue after nightfall. Government offices were also closed statewide in Louisiana.

Winds could be nearly as strong as during a hurricane, forecasters said.

The same system produced tornadoes and hail earlier in North Texas, the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas.

Seven tornadoes were reported across the Plains from the northeastern Texas Panhandle to southeastern Kansas. Strong winds hit elsewhere Wednesday evening, toppling utility poles and trees and downing power lines in parts of North Texas.

No significant structural damage was reported, but heavy rainfall caused flash flooding that prompted the shutdown of Interstate 30 in central Arkansas and the closure of several schools around Little Rock.

The National Weather Service received numerous reports of hail pelting the storm-struck areas. Egg-size hail was reported about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northwest of Fort Worth.

As the storm system works its way to Alabama, Reeves said the Troy Recreation Center and Trojan Center will be opened at 7 p.m. for people to be in a safe area.

Parks and Recreation Director Dan Smith said he had already received several phone calls from citizens asking about safe shelter in the storm.

“I’ve gotten several calls from people in the Hunter’s Mountain area as well as other citizens that are looking to stay in the shelter tonight,” Smith said.

Multiple mobile homes were damaged or destroyed at Hunter’s Mountain Mobile Estates during the Tornado Sunday.