Another day of severe storms was forecast across much of the South on Tuesday, continuing a rough stretch of weather that saw damaging tornadoes hit parts of the region both Sunday and Monday. The storms killed two people in Georgia and one person in Tennessee.
The threat zone for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes Tuesday covers more than 1,000 miles from the lower Mississippi Valley and Southeast to the upper Ohio Valley, AccuWeather said.
Large parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, as well as corners of Arkansas and Georgia, are at enhanced risk for the worst weather, according to the Storm Prediction Center. That zone is home to more than 11 million people and includes the cities of Nashville; Birmingham, Alabama; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Jackson, Mississippi, forecasters said.
“Threats from these storms will include flooding downpours, hail, damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Tyler Roys said.
At least 360,000 people were without power in the South Tuesday, according to poweroutage.us.
Torrential rains flooded streets around metro Birmingham, Alabama, on Tuesday. The National Weather Service issued the flash flood emergency for the Birmingham and county officials were warning residents to stay off the roads.
A tornado watch was issued Tuesday morning by the National Weather Service for portions of Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana. A tornado watch means weather conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop.
Storms could include wind gusts of up to 70 mph and hail to the size of golf balls, forecasters said, noting that “tornadoes are likely Tuesday into Tuesday evening” in parts of Mississippi.
Severe storms moved across portions of Tennessee starting around sunrise Tuesday morning, bringing heavy rain and triggering a flurry of tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings. A woman died when a tree fell on her home as storms moved through the state Tuesday, Weakley County Emergency Management Director Ray Wiggington told WKRN-TV. He said at least six mobile homes were damaged by the falling tree around 4 a.m.
In a Birmingham suburb, residents huddled on the second-floor balcony of an apartment complex that became flooded. Rescuers in a small boat paddled through the parking lot past submerged cars. Video showed at least 20 residents being rescued, with many residents still trapped on the top floors.
Strong winds and heavy rain whipped through Jackson late Tuesday while thunder rattled windows. The high winds knocked out electricity in many neighborhoods while it cracked some limbs off trees and sent them onto nearby houses. The storms left streets littered with branches and leaves.
And at least eight people were injured when storms that brought tornadoes to Texas flipped tractor-trailers on an interstate and damaged structures on Monday and Tuesday.
Tuesday’s risk follows heavy weather that moved across the South on Sunday and Monday, damaging homes and uprooting trees from Mississippi to West Virginia.
‘I saw trees flying’:More than 100M people from New Mexico to Delaware at risk of severe weather; at least 2 dead in Georgia
A tornado spotted in Atlanta Monday forced thousands to seek shelter, and one man was killed when a falling tree brought power lines onto his vehicle. The motorist was pronounced dead after fire crews cut him from the vehicle in Douglasville, Georgia, west of Atlanta.
In middle Georgia, 55-year-old Carla Harris was killed Monday after a tree fell onto her Bonaire home, Houston County emergency officials said.
In Mississippi, forecasters confirmed 12 tornadoes Sunday evening and night, including a Yazoo City twister, which stretched for 30 miles, and another tornado that moved through suburbs of Byram and Terry south of Jackson that produced a damage track 1,000 yards wide.
Just south of Yazoo City, Vickie Savell was left with only scraps of the brand-new mobile home where she and her husband had moved in just eight days ago. It had been lifted off its foundation and moved about 25 feet (8 meters). It was destroyed.
“Oh my God, my first new house in 40 years and it’s gone,” she said Monday, amid tree tops strewn about the neighborhood and the roar of chainsaws as people worked to clear roads.
At least one tornado touched down in the Monday night storms that caused widespread damage in western Arkansas.
The tornado reportedly touched down in the Roland area, according to weather service meteorologist Tyler Snider. A tornado may have also touched down in Van Buren based on NWS radar signatures in the area.
In South Carolina, at least one tornado was reported Monday afternoon in Abbeville County. No injuries were reported. In Greenwood, downed trees and power lines were reported, while a vehicle was blown over and a storage unit building was heavily damaged. Multiple locations reported golf ball-sized hail.
A possible tornado Monday morning knocked down trees and power lines in southern Kentucky, according to the weather service.
Preliminary results of a weather service survey have concluded that the Kentucky storm was a 90 mph EF-1 tornado, with most damage occurring in Tompkinsville, weather service meteorologist Cliff Goff said Monday afternoon.
In West Virginia, Jefferson County communications supervisor James Hayden said one person was injured when a possible tornado touched down at a lumber company Monday evening.
Weather service surveyors confirmed one tornado west of Atlanta near where the motorist died. The twister was determined to have peak winds of 90 mph with a path that ran 1.5 miles. At least 10 homes had trees on them.
The same thunderstorm sent thousands of people to shelter in more central parts of Atlanta and may have produced at least one more tornado southwest of downtown. Possible tornado damage was also reported in the region around Athens.
Contributing: Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY; The Associated Press; Adam Friedman and Rachel Wegner, The Nashville Tennessean; Ben Tobin, The Louisville Courier Journal; Gabriela Szymanowska, The Mississippi Clarion Ledger; Max Bryan, The Fort Smith Times Record