Tornado Watches Issued Tuesday for Several Southern States
Severe Weather Continues in South for Third Straight Day
The authorities blamed storms and tornadoes for at least three deaths, and forecasters warned that more tornadoes were possible on Tuesday night.
Flash flooding and the possibility of tornadoes are expected to continue on Tuesday in much of the southern United States. The storms have killed at least three people.CreditCredit…Mark Humphrey/Associated Press
Severe weather continued to roll through parts of the southern United States on Tuesday, and tornado and thunderstorm watches remained in effect into the night in some places, as the region endured a third day of storms that caused widespread damage and were blamed for at least three deaths.
A tornado watch was issued on Tuesday afternoon for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida until 11 p.m. Eastern time. Forecasters cautioned that storms moving through the areas under the watch could produce tornadoes, hail the size of Ping-Pong balls and wind gusts up to 80 miles per hour.
Powerful storms were expected to move into the Mid-Atlantic region on Tuesday night, as the Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm watch for parts of Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington until 8 p.m. local. time. Forecasters warned that hail the size of Ping-Pong balls was possible, as well as wind gusts up to 70 m.p.h.
Those watches followed a string that the National Weather Service issued throughout Tuesday from Louisiana to Pennsylvania, as storms across large stretches of the South produced heavy rain and reports of tornadoes.
In Mississippi, a tornado warning was briefly issued on Tuesday morning for an area of about 30 miles southwest of Jackson, the state capital, after the Weather Service received reports of an observed tornado.
Video circulating on social media showed what appeared to be a dark funnel cloud southwest of Jackson early Tuesday. A tornado was not immediately confirmed, but the Weather Service said it had received reports of toppled trees in the area.
In Tennessee, an area about 80 miles west of Knoxville was placed under a tornado warning around 8:30 a.m. local time after weather radars indicated that a tornado had developed.
A woman in her 40s was killed when a tree fell on her home in Weakley County, about 140 miles west of Nashville, around 4 a.m. on Tuesday, Ray Wiggington, the director of the county’s Emergency Management Agency, told WKRN-TV in Nashville.
A man died on Monday when power lines and a tree fell on his vehicle outside Atlanta, according to the authorities. And a woman in Bonaire, Ga., died Monday when a tree fell onto her home, the Houston County Emergency Management Agency said.
Damaged homes and vehicles in Tupelo, Miss., on Monday.Credit…Thomas Graning/Associated Press
Around 1:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday, the Weather Service office in Birmingham, Ala., issued a flash flood warning for parts of the Birmingham area as heavy rain moved through the region. Video shared on social media showed water flowing like a river through some of the city’s streets.
The Weather Service’s office in Birmingham urged residents on Twitter to avoid driving in the flooded streets. “Folks, don’t underestimate the power of water!” the message said. “It doesn’t take much to float a vehicle.”
A tornado warning was issued around 1:30 p.m. local time for Cleburne County, about 80 miles east of Birmingham, after radars indicated that a tornado had formed in the area. There were no immediate reports of damage in the county.
Farther north, the Weather Service issued a tornado warning around 3 p.m. local time for the area around Brockway, Pa., about 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. The Weather Service said its radar showed that a tornado had formed in the area, but a tornado was not immediately confirmed, nor was any damage immediately reported.
The threat of more severe weather on Tuesday came after two days of the region being battered by storms, which included tornadoes touching down in Mississippi, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Texas on Sunday and Monday.
Hundreds of thousands of customers were without power on Tuesday evening in Arkansas, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia, according to PowerOutage.us, a website that tracks loss of service.
In Texas, local news outlets reported at least two tornadoes on Monday. Three people were injured, one seriously, when three 18-wheelers flipped and several other vehicles were involved in a crash on Interstate 35 in Waxahachie, a city about 30 miles south of Dallas, according to WFAA, a Dallas news station.
Officials in Ellis County said mobile homes and businesses in and around Waxahachie were badly damaged in Monday night’s storms. The Weather Service office in Fort Worth confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that a tornado, with winds up to 120 m.p.h., tore through Ellis County for about 15 minutes on Monday evening.
It also confirmed that two tornadoes — one about 45 miles north of Dallas and another 45 miles southwest of the city — touched down briefly late Monday night, producing minimal damage.
In Blum, Texas, about 65 miles southwest of Dallas, the Weather Service confirmed on Tuesday that a tornado, with winds up to 130 m.p.h., had torn through the area on Monday evening.
Images circulating on social media showed a well-defined tornado in the Blum area late Monday, as well as damage that included buildings whose roofs had been torn off.
The Weather Service received at least one report from the San Antonio area of a hailstone 5.5 inches in diameter — larger than a softball.
April was a quiet month for severe weather in the United States, with half of the usual number of severe weather reports, the fewest tornado reports since 2000 and the fourth-fewest tornado watches on record, according to the National Weather Service.
Neil Vigdor contributed reporting.