Much of the South is facing the risk of more severe weather Tuesday, forecasters say, after tornadoes struck parts of the region Sunday night and Monday, causing heavy damage in some parts of Mississippi.
Parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, as well as corners of Arkansas and Georgia are at enhanced risk for the worst weather, according to the national Storm Prediction Center. That zone is home to more than 11 million people and includes the cities of Nashville; Birmingham, Ala.; Baton Rouge, La.; and Jackson, Miss., forecasters said.
“We’ll see all three threats as far as hail, wind and tornadoes on Tuesday,” said Mike Edmonston, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Mississippi.
Hail and high winds buffeted north Texas on Monday night. Just before midnight, three tractor-trailers flipped over on Interstate 35 south of Dallas in the driving rain.
The weather 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.
The risk follows heavy weather that moved across the South on Sunday and Monday, damaging homes and uprooting trees from Mississippi to West Virginia.
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A tornado spotted in Atlanta forced thousands to seek shelter, and one man was killed when a falling tree brought power lines onto his vehicle in Douglasville, Ga., west of Atlanta, Douglas County spokesman Rick Martin said. In middle Georgia, 55-year-old Carla Harris was killed after a tree fell onto her Bonaire home, Houston County emergency officials said.
The weather first turned rough Sunday in Mississippi, where, just south of Yazoo City, Vickie Savell was left with only scraps of the brand-new mobile home into which she and her husband had moved just eight days ago. It was lifted off its foundation, blown 25 feet and completely destroyed.
“Oh my God, my first new house in 40 years and it’s gone,” she said Monday, amid treetops strewn about the neighborhood and the roar of chainsaws as people worked to clear roads.
Savell had been away from home, attending church, but her husband Nathan had been driving home and hunkered down in the front of his truck as the home nearby was destroyed. From there, he watched his new home blow past him, he said.
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The storms hit the northeast Mississippi city of Tupelo late Sunday, damaging homes and businesses.
There were multiple reports of damage to homes on Elvis Presley Drive, just down the street from the home where the famed singer was born. Presley was born in a two-room house in the Tupelo neighborhood, but there was no indication that the historic home, now a museum, sustained damage.
Forecasters confirmed 12 tornadoes in Mississippi on Sunday evening and night, including the Yazoo City twister, which stretched for 30 miles, and another tornado that moved through the suburbs of Byram and Terry, south of Jackson, that produced a damage track 1,000 yards wide.
In South Carolina, at least one tornado was reported Monday afternoon in Abbeville County. The tornado appeared to be on the ground for several miles, according to warnings from the National Weather Service. No injuries were immediately 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.
In the southern Kentucky town of Tompkinsville, a Monday morning storm later confirmed as a tornado damaged several homes and knocked down trees and power lines, Fire Chief Kevin Jones said. No injuries were reported, he said.
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. The injury was minor, and the person was treated at the scene, he said.
National 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, Ga.