April 25 (UPI) -- Two people were killed in rural Louisiana when a tornado tore through the town of Ruston with 160-mph winds early Thursday.
The storm knocked out power to 2,700 customers overnight but by 4 a.m., the number was down to 1,600. Ruston is in northern Louisiana about 70 miles east of Shreveport. The Louisiana National Guard is helping first responders in the aftermath of the storm.
Lincoln Parish Sheriff Mike Stone said the two deaths occurred in a house off Interstate 20. Much of the damage was reported in the Cypress Springs subdivision south of I-20.
"Our prayers are with the people of Ruston today," Gov. John Bel Edwards tweeted.
Classes at Louisiana Tech University were canceled for Thursday. Photos shared on social media show serious damage around campus, including the sports complex. Several roads were closed on campus because of fallen trees and debris.
"No students were injured, but a significant amount of damage occurred," the university tweeted. "Power lines and trees are down in some areas on and near campus. In some areas, traveling is hazardous. If you do not live on campus, please do not come to campus. Essential personnel will be contacted by their supervisor about reporting to work."
More severe weather is heading to the Gulf Coast region Thursday that could bring additional tornado watches and warnings and severe thunderstorm watches from Louisiana to Alabama and Mississippi.
The storm is expected to hit the East Coast on Friday with heavy rain expected from the Carolinas to the Mid-Atlantic. The Northeast could also get heavy rain and gusty winds.