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Jan. 11 (UPI) -- Intense winds, flooding downpours and tornadoes left a trail of destruction after the first severe weather outbreak of 2020 swept across the southern United States. The severe weather outbreak initiated Friday morning as thunderstorms erupted across Oklahoma, before expanding into Missouri and Texas on Friday afternoon and advancing eastward through Arkansas and Louisiana on Friday night. At least three fatalities were confirmed in Louisiana after violent storms battered the region on Friday night. The Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office confirmed that two of the people were found dead near their demolished trailer home. The third fatality happened in Caddo Parish when a tree fell on a house, according to KSLA. Dozens of tornado warnings were issued across the region during this timeframe, including one in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex as an intense storm swept through the city. Over 1.7 million people were alerted of a possible tornado as well as travelers waiting their flights at the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. RELATED 2019 was the second warmest year ever, Copernicus survey says Tornado watches were in effect for parts of the Deep South, including Jackson, Miss., and New Orleans. Additional watches were likely to be issued throughout Saturday as the severe storms march eastward. Although tornadoes were possible, the biggest threat was expected to be strong wind gusts capable of toppling trees, sparking power outages and leading to property damage. As of Saturday morning, more than 230,000 electric customers were without power across the region, with that number likely to grow throughout the day. "I think there's gonna be wind, hail and I think we're gonna see tornadoes on the ground," AccuWeather chief broadcast meteorologist Bernie Rayno said on AccuWeather's Weather Insider podcast. "The question is: How many?" RELATED 6-magnitude aftershock rattles Puerto Rico 9:30 a.m. CST Saturday Structural damage was reported south of Tunica, Miss., where the highest wind gust thus far was clocked at 79 mph. Strong winds in Arkansas and Texas reportedly flipped over trucks along highways between Friday evening and Saturday morning. RELATED Officials order 250,000 to evacuate in Australia near 'megafire' Storm damage also was seen along Highway 232 in southern Lonoke County in Arkansas. There are no reported injuries there. 8:30 a.m. CST Saturday Power outages mounted across the south as the storm trekked eastward across the United States. Texas experienced the most outages with more than 55,000 customers without power. RELATED Trump pitches major environmental rule changes to aid private projects 6 a.m. CST Saturday Stretches of both Interstates 20 and 49 in northern Louisiana were closed early Saturday due to debris over the road. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development as well as local officials advised motorists to seek alternate routes. 5 a.m. CST Saturday A tornado warning was issued for portions of northern Mississippi and southwestern Tennessee. This storm was tracking through a highly populated area, posing a serious threat. Strong rotation along with a possible debris signature was evident via radar. 1:30 a.m. CST Saturday A nearly continuous line of severe thunderstorm warnings stretched over 600 miles from southeast Missouri to southeast Texas currently. Across Arkansas and Missouri, multiple flash flood warnings were posted behind the main line of thunderstorms.
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