US & Canada

US 'tornado' smashes town of Rayne in Louisiana

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Media captionDebris was left littered throughout the town of Rayne

A suspected tornado has ripped through a town in the US state of Loiusiana, killing one woman and injuring 11 other people.

More than 100 houses were damaged in the town of Rayne and a number destroyed. Hundreds of people were evacuated amid fears of gas leaks.

The devastation was caused as a violent storm moves through Louisiana and on to Mississippi and Alabama.

The 21-year-old woman who died was killed when a tree fell on her house.

One of the injured was in serious condition.

Rayne, in Acadia Parish, has a population of about 8,500.

Electricity pylons were pulled down, trees felled and a postal truck flipped over.

"There are houses off their foundations," State Police Trooper Stephen Hammonds told Associated Press.

"There are houses that have been destroyed."

Those evacuated were taken to a temporary shelter in a fire station.

The storm has caused a number of events in the New Orleans Mardi Gras to be postponed or cancelled.

Meteorologist Donald Jones told AP a tornado watch had been issued for south-eastern Louisiana, with New Orleans city under threat of further poor weather.