DISASTERS

The Latest: Storm system damages Wal-Mart in Louisiana

The Latest on severe weather in the South (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

A storm system moving across the South has blown out skylights in a Wal-Mart in Marksville, Louisiana, sending water and glass cascading onto shoppers.

Marksville Fire Chief Jerry Bordelon says the Monday storm also picked up a fireworks stand in front of the store and mangled it, tossing it 30 or 40 yards.

Bordelon says no one was injured. People inside the store were evacuated and it was closed afterward.

A number of other buildings in Avoyelles (Uh-VOY'-uhls) Parish were damaged, including houses that trees fell through and a building that lost its roof.

The National Weather Service has yet to determine whether the wind damage was caused by a tornado.

The Marksville damage is just one example from a squall line that knocked out power to tens of thousands Monday, downing trees and damaging structures from Texas through Mississippi. Damage has been reported in 18 counties in Mississippi, 15 parishes in Louisiana and 15 counties in Texas.

___

12:45 p.m.

Severe weather was expected to bring a variety of threats to parts of the Deep South through the night.

Thousands of power outages were reported in the New Orleans area, where a tornado watch remained in effect early Monday afternoon.

The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, says 6.9 million people in large parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and south Alabama are at the highest risk of storms Monday. The area includes several large cities such as New Orleans; Jackson, Mississippi; and Mobile, Alabama.

Forecasters say damaging winds, hail and flash flooding will be possible, and that a few tornadoes will also be possible.

Entergy Louisiana reported that more than 8,000 customers were without power in the Metairie area outside New Orleans.