2 dead as storms threaten millions from Texas to Atlantic South Coast
At least two people died in severe spring weather that threatened millions of people from Texas to South Carolina on Tuesday.
Separate systems moving east produced thunderstorms, rain and hail. About 22 million people from southeast Louisiana to coastal South Carolina were at risk of severe storms Tuesday.
The unstable air, fueled in part by the annual shock of spring heat and the lingering presence of winter, has formed into funnels and possible tornadoes in Troy, Alabama, and Allendale County, in South Carolina, according to video footage and local reports.
Weather-related deaths have been reported in Whitehouse, a town in east Texas, and in the Pembroke, Georgia area, a small town west of Savannah.
A White House man was killed when a tree toppled over his home early Tuesday, Mayor James Wansley said in a statement. He later said emergency service workers believed the victim, WM Soloman, was 71.
“Last night’s storm also knocked down power lines, impeded traffic and caused property damage in the heart of the town of Whitehouse,” Wansley said in the statement.
Winds in the area were measured at 100 mph during the worst phase of the front, the mayor said.
In Georgia, Bryan County Coroner Bill Cox said a woman was pronounced dead Tuesday night after her body was found near a mobile home that was destroyed by the day’s storm.
The union representing firefighters in the Savannah Fire Department tweeted that first responders were dispatched to Bryan County earlier Tuesday to help with possible tornado damage.
South Carolina’s Allendale County, just to the north, was the site of an apparent landfall earlier in the day, according to the National Weather Service office in Columbia.
South Carolina Division of Emergency Management spokesman Brandon Lavorgna said 30 structures, including homes, were damaged when an apparent tornado carved out a path believed to be 10 miles or more.
The National Weather Service usually confirms tornadoes the next day, or later, as it takes eyes on the ground to inspect the possible pattern of damage.
As the first storm system began rolling out Tuesday evening, it was expected to bring heavy rain to parts of the mid-Atlantic and northeast.
Then a second storm system was likely to take its place, putting 30 million people in the southeast at risk of severe weather.
Wednesday’s threat will affect many of the same areas affected on Tuesday, including metropolitan areas of Atlanta; Birmingham; Mobile, Alabama; Charleston; Tallahassee and Jacksonville.
By Thursday, severe storms will be confined to eastern North Carolina and small portions of coastal South Carolina and Virginia from Myrtle Beach to Virginia Beach.
Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches could fall through Thursday.
East of the Rocky Mountains, from the Mexican border almost to the Canadian border, forecasters said warm temperatures, low relative humidity and gusty winds could combine to create fire conditions.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said Tuesday that a potential six days of fire weather prompted her to declare a state of emergency as a precaution.
Next Monday through Wednesday, there will likely be another multi-day round of severe storms across the central and southern plains and parts of the southeast.
This would make the fourth straight week with severe storms in what has been a relentless streak of extreme weather across the southern portion of the United States.
Anthony Cusumano contributed.