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An Easter marked by tornadoes, storms across the South

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Strong storms pounded parts of the Deep South on Sunday, damaging buildings and toppling trees in northern Louisiana.

The National Weather Service reported multiple tornadoes and damaging winds over much of the northern part of the state. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries. Utility companies reported thousands of power outages.

The city of Monroe, Louisiana, said the storm damaged commercial buildings and homes in multiple neighborhoods. Flights were canceled at Monroe Regional Airport, where siding was ripped off buildings and debris was scattered on runways. Airport director Ron Phillips told the News-Star the storm caused up to $30 million in damage to planes inside a hangar.

In northwest Louisiana, officials reported damage to dozens of homes in DeSoto and Webster parishes, according to news outlets.

As of Sunday afternoon, the weather service said the greatest risk for strong Easter Sunday storms covered much of Mississippi, Alabama and western Georgia. That area was at “moderate risk" while much of the rest of the South was under at least a “marginal” risk, the weather service said.

In Morgan County, Alabama, a church roof and steeple were damaged by lightning Sunday afternoon, Morgan County Emergency Management Agency Eddie Hicks told AL.com. Shoals Creek Baptist Church in Priceville was struck by lightning around 12:45 p.m. No injuries were reported.

“This could be a very difficult day weatherwise," Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves told residents in a live Facebook presentation. "Please be weather aware. Pay attention. I know that these storms that are coming through can be dangerous. We can see significant winds. We can also see significant tornadoes coming through Mississippi today.”

The weather service said a broader area, from east Texas to the East Coast was under at least a “marginal” risk of storms.

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