Severe storms killed one person in Texas on Tuesday as hailstorms battered communities and high winds toppled trees into utility poles elsewhere in the South. Authorities issued a flurry of tornado warnings at the start of what could be two days of severe weather in the area.
In East Texas, WM Soloman, 71, died when storm winds toppled a tree over Solomon’s home in Whitehouse, about 100 miles southeast of Dallas, the mayor of Whitehouse said. James Wansley. Officials said at least four homes in the area had fallen trees on them.
More than 50,000 homes and businesses were without power as of Tuesday afternoon, from eastern Texas to South Carolina. No injuries were reported, but the National Weather Service issued a steady stream of tornado warnings for hours as the storm system tore through Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.
A possible tornado touched down early Tuesday evening in Pembroke, Georgia, about 30 miles west of Savannah. Carter Infinger, chairman of the Bryan County commission, said some buildings were damaged, but he wasn’t sure if there was more extensive destruction. Infinger said he was not aware of any injuries, but said he had not yet spoken to emergency officials. He said cell phone service was down in parts of the county.
“Looks like a tornado touched down up there and damaged our administration building and the roof of the courthouse,” Infinger said. “We have had no injuries to our county staff that we are aware of.”
In South Carolina, Allendale County Executive William Goodson said a tornado, captured in social media video, caused damage in his rural county, but it was unclear how much and how much. there had been injuries.
“I know we have damaged buildings and downed power lines,” Goodson said. “My deputies and emergency managers are there to assess him.”
The weather service said it was sending survey teams to examine potential damage from the tornado in Wetumpka, Alabama. Lightning struck a flea market in the northern Alabama community of Lacey’s Spring, sparking a fire that gutted the building, media reported, and rising waters in Mobile Bay covered part of the building. a ramp on Interstate 10.
Fallen trees and branches closed a section of freeway for several hours in Newton County, Mississippi. As the line of storms entered Georgia, a large tree fell and slammed into the roof of Marie Jordan’s home in metro Atlanta, descending into the living room, kitchen and garage.
“It just took everything,” Jordan told WSB-TV. “For years and years I have watched this tree.”
Elsewhere in Texas, one person was injured as storms swept through Johnson County, about 65 miles southwest of Dallas. Brittaney Deaton said she got stuck in an RV trailer behind her family’s house after the trailer overturned. She said her stepfather hurt himself trying to free her.
“I was screaming on the phone. I couldn’t get out. I was terrified,” Deaton told KDFW-TV. “And I felt like I was trapped, like it was going to roll with me. And I thank God that I got out of it.”
His mother, Amber Zeleny, said her husband suffered injuries to his nose, leg and ribs but needed to recover.
Severe storms with powerful tornadoes are possible over a wide area stretching from southern Mississippi to the Georgia and South Carolina coasts, the Storm Prediction Center said. The most at-risk area includes more than 8 million people in the cities of Mobile and Montgomery in Alabama; Tallahassee, Florida; and Columbus and Savannah in Georgia.
Isolated areas could receive up to 5 inches of rain during the day Tuesday, increasing the risk of flash flooding and softening the ground so more trees can fall, forecasters said.
The threat of damaging weather will shift north Wednesday, forecasters said, with severe storms possible in an area stretching from western Alabama to the western tip of the Carolinas. More than 10 million people in metropolitan areas, including Atlanta; Birmingham; and Chattanooga, Tennessee, will be at risk, the Storm Prediction Center said.
Spring often brings heavy storms to the Southeast, and the area recently faced a deluge of weather that included a tornado last month in the New Orleans subway, where one person died, and storms that killed at least two people in the Florida Panhandle last week.