Hail, wind and tornadoes: South at risk for severe weather again after tornadoes cause heavy damage, 3 deaths

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Another day of severe storms was forecast across much of the South on Tuesday, continuing a rough stretch of weather that saw damaging tornadoes hit parts of the region both Sunday and Monday. The storms killed two people in Georgia and one person in Tennessee. 

The threat zone for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes Tuesday covers more than 1,000 miles from the lower Mississippi Valley and Southeast to the upper Ohio Valley, AccuWeather said.

Large parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, as well as corners of Arkansas and Georgia, are at enhanced risk for the worst weather, according to the Storm Prediction Center. That zone is home to more than 11 million people and includes the cities of Nashville; Birmingham, Alabama; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Jackson, Mississippi, forecasters said.

“Threats from these storms will include flooding downpours, hail, damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Tyler Roys said.

Torrential rains flooded streets around metro Birmingham, Alabama, on Tuesday. 

A tornado watch was issued Tuesday morning by the National Weather Service for portions of Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana. A tornado watch means weather conditions are favorable for tornadoes to develop. 

Storms 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. 

Severe storms moved across portions of Tennessee starting around sunrise Tuesday morning, bringing heavy rain and triggering a flurry of tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings. A woman died when a tree fell on her home as storms moved through the state Tuesday, Weakley County Emergency Management Director Ray Wiggington told WKRN-TV. He said at least six mobile homes were damaged by the falling tree around 4 a.m.

Tuesday’s risk follows heavy weather that moved across the South on Sunday and Monday, damaging homes and uprooting trees from Mississippi to West Virginia. 

‘I saw trees flying’:More than 100M people from New Mexico to Delaware at risk of severe weather; at least 2 dead in Georgia

A tornado spotted in Atlanta Monday forced thousands to seek shelter, and one man was killed when a falling tree brought power lines onto his vehicle. The motorist was pronounced dead after fire crews cut him from the vehicle in Douglasville, Georgia, west of Atlanta.

In middle Georgia, 55-year-old Carla Harris was killed Monday after a tree fell onto her Bonaire home, Houston County emergency officials said. 

A Tupelo Public Works employee works to clear out more debris and tree limbs on Monday, May 3, 2021 after a tornado hit the area late Sunday night in Tupelo, Miss. (Adam Robison/The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal via AP)

In Mississippi, forecasters confirmed 12 tornadoes Sunday evening and night, including a Yazoo City twister, which stretched for 30 miles, and another tornado that moved through suburbs of Byram and Terry south of Jackson that produced a damage track 1,000 yards wide.

At least one tornado touched down in the Monday night storms that caused widespread damage in western Arkansas.

The tornado reportedly touched down in the Roland area, according to weather service meteorologist Tyler Snider. A tornado may have also touched down in Van Buren based on NWS radar signatures in the area.

In South Carolina, at least one tornado was reported Monday afternoon in Abbeville County. No injuries were 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.

A possible tornado Monday morning knocked down trees and power lines in southern Kentucky, according to the weather service.

Preliminary results of a weather service survey have concluded that the Kentucky storm was a 90 mph EF-1 tornado, with most damage occurring in Tompkinsville, weather service meteorologist Cliff Goff said Monday afternoon.

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. 

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.

Contributing: The Associated Press; Adam Friedman and Rachel Wegner, The Nashville Tennessean; Ben Tobin, The Louisville Courier Journal; Gabriela Szymanowska, The Mississippi Clarion Ledger; Max Bryan, The Fort Smith Times Record