Five tornadoes touched down in Mississippi and at least one tornado hit South Carolina on Tuesday as meteorologists and emergency officials braced for another round of troubling storms in parts of the South on Wednesday, following a recent pattern of unpredictable weather in the region.
In Texas, local officials said a 71-year-old man was killed in Whitehouse, about 100 miles southeast of Dallas, when a tree fell on his home Tuesday morning during a storm.
The National Weather Service in Jackson, Mississippi, confirmed five tornadoes in parts of Scott, Newton, Jefferson Davis and Covington counties Tuesday morning. Survey teams were continuing to assess other sections of the state, the weather service said.
Nearly five million people in the south, from the Florida panhandle to southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina, were under increased threat from extreme weather on Tuesday, the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center said.
Wednesday promises to bring another round of turbulent weather, the The weather service said, with severe thunderstorms likely in the southeast and tornadoes possible again. Birmingham, Alabama, Chattanooga, Tennessee and Atlanta will face an increased risk of severe storms bringing heavy rain and damaging winds.
A tornado touched down near Allendale, South Carolina, just before 4 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Meteorological Service office in Charleston, SC It was not immediately clear if there were any injuries. Video circulating on social media showed a large plume in the background as two people rushed to safety.
The Meteorological Service office in Birmingham, Alabama also reported “several potential tornado tracks” from Tuesday’s storms. A survey team was en route to Wetumpka, Alabama, to assess the damage there, and another team will be dispatched Wednesday morning, the weather service said.
Steve Miller, a meteorologist with the Weather Service office in Mobile, Alabama, which covers parts of Mississippi, described the weather system earlier Tuesday as “a line of thunderstorms,” also known as a squall line, a group of storms arranged in a line with high winds and heavy rain.
The thunderstorms started early in the day in Mississippi, where there were reports of flash flood on the roads, large hail and downed trees. Debris from the storm blocked both directions of U.S. Highway 80 in Newton County, according to the Mississippi Department of Transportation.
The weather service said a new daily rainfall record of nearly four and a half inches was set in Hattiesburg, the most rain the city has seen in one day since 1937.
A 71-year-old man was killed when a tree fell on his home in Texas.
Parts of Texas started the week with a series of severe thunderstorms that triggered a flurry of warnings that lasted through early Tuesday around the Fort Worth area.
In East Texas, WM Soloman, 71, was killed Tuesday morning when a tree fell on his home in Whitehouse, near Tyler, the town’s mayor, James Wansley, said in a press release. The “threatening storm” knocked down trees and power lines and knocked out power to some households, Mr Wansley said. The Whitehouse Independent School District canceled classes on Tuesday.
As of early Tuesday, more than 23,000 people in Texas were without power, mostly in East Texas, according to PowerOutage.uswhich aggregates data from utilities across the United States.
Around 11 p.m. local time on Monday, meteorologists for Fort Worth Weather Service alerted residents to a strong line of storms. “Seek shelter on the top floor in an inner room NOW!” the service said on Twitter, adding that winds could exceed 80 miles per hour. Soon, a flash flood warning was in effect for Dallas County and forecasters warned drivers not to use flooded roads. “Turn around, don’t drown!” they said.
A handful of people were rescued from rising waters in McKinney, about 30 miles north of Dallas, on Monday evening, the McKinney Fire Department said on Twitter. A team carried out three water rescues, getting four people to safety after their cars were swept away. No injuries were reported.
Further storm damage was reported further east, where a number of trees had fell on the houses.
The bad weather season is in full swing.
Although storms are not uncommon in parts of the South at any time of the year, the peak severe weather season in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida is generally in March, April and May, the weather service said.
Over the weekend, extreme weather disrupted air travel across the United States, forcing airlines to cancel thousands of flights, The Associated Press reported. Southwest Airlines said a technology issue and “permanent weather challengeswere causing the disruption.
Last week, at least two people were killed and two others were injured when a line of storms flattened homes in the Florida Panhandle. A tornado in northwest Arkansas injured at least seven people, two seriously, and destroyed part of a school.
And last month, a series of severe storms damaged nine mobile homes and injured six people in Alabama, about 80 miles northeast of Mobile.