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High winds damage buildings, down trees as severe weather moves through Louisiana

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Severe weather swept across southern Louisiana early Wednesday, damaging buildings, knocking over trees and leaving the power out to countless homes and businesses.

The National Weather Service said a wind gust of 62 mph was recorded at New Roads, moments before winds at 60 mph was reported across the Mississippi River at St. Francisville. Forecasters also warned that some storms would pack a stronger wallop, with gusts at 80 mph — exceeding hurricane force.

Torrential rain also fell, falling in sheets reminiscent of so many tropical systems. Three to 5 inches of rain fell in short periods of time, overwhelming street drainage and briefly stranding motorists braving the morning commute.

Schools, governments and some businesses either closed for the day or delayed their openings, providing drivers at least some relief during drive-time.

The bad weather was part of a system that swept the South. Arkansas and Oklahoma saw bad weather Monday after the solar eclipse, then Texas and northern Louisiana bore the brunt Tuesday. The worst of the storms entered Louisiana from the west overnight and arrived in the Baton Rouge area just before 8 a.m..

Power outages totaled 189,000 statewide, including damages still pending from Tuesday’s storms in northern Louisiana. Entergy Louisiana reported more than 80,000 power outages, including nearly 19,000 in East Baton Rouge Parish.

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