Relentless winds and rains continued to hit large swathes of the southern United States on Tuesday, causing tornadoes, causing a sudden flood emergency in Alabama and damaging homes from Texas to Virginia.
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued the flash flood emergency for the Birmingham, Alabama area at the start of rush hour, warning that torrential rains – up to five inches in some areas – had already fallen and that two more inches were possible before the storm system continued to move east.
Jefferson County emergency management officials have urged residents not to use the roads as many have been inundated.
Strong winds blowing behind a line of storms toppled trees in central Alabama, where the ground was saturated with water.
In the Birmingham suburb of Homewood, residents huddled on the second-story balcony of a flooded apartment complex.
Rescuers in a small boat paddled through the parking lot past submerged cars.
According to the National Storm Forecasting Center, parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, as well as corners of Arkansas and Georgia, were at increased risk of experiencing the worst weather conditions.
This area is home to over 11 million people and includes the cities of Nashville, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Jackson, Mississippi, forecasters said.
NWS meteorologist Mike Edmonston said: “We will see the three threats in regards to hail, wind and tornadoes on Tuesday.”
The storms killed three people this week and as of Tuesday night more than 350,000 customers were without power from Texas to Maryland, including 143,000 in Mississippi and 76,000 in Virginia, according to poweroutage.us.
Alabama Power Co has reported some 93,000 homes and businesses without power statewide.
With warnings of possible tornadoes spreading eastward from Louisiana, dozens of school systems in Mississippi and Alabama have fired students early so buses and cars don’t have to be on. the road in potentially violent weather.
A Tennessee woman died when a tree fell on her home as storms swept through the state on 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.
At least eight people were injured when storms that caused tornadoes in Texas overturned tractor-trailers on a freeway and damaged structures.
Three drivers were hospitalized, including one seriously injured, after their semi-trailers overturned in storms Monday night along Interstate 35 near Waxahachie, about 30 miles south of Dallas, officials said.
In addition to the injured tractor-trailer drivers, five other people in Texas were hospitalized after the storm swept through Ellis County, an official said.
County Judge Todd Little told KXAS that between 25 and 50 structures were damaged, but no fatalities.
NWS meteorologist Faith Borden said at least 11 counties in Tennessee were affected by possible EF-0 tornadoes on Tuesday.
The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency said a weather-related death had been reported in Weakley County, but spokesman Dean Flener did not have details of how or when the death occurred. exact where it happened.
Strong winds and heavy rains swept through the Mississippi capital Jackson on Tuesday night as thunder rattled the windows.
High winds cut electricity to many neighborhoods as they cracked tree branches and sent them to nearby homes. The storms left streets strewn with branches and leaves.
On Monday, a fallen tree brought power lines to his vehicle in Douglasville, Ga., West of Atlanta, Douglas County spokesman Rick Martin said.
And in central Georgia, Carla Harris, 55, was killed after a tree fell on her Bonaire home, Houston County emergency officials said.
A tornado that hit Northumberland County in Virginia near the Chesapeake Bay destroyed one home and severely damaged a few others on Monday, but no one was injured.
The tornado followed for about five miles and brought in winds of up to 120 mph.
In Mississippi, forecasters confirmed 12 tornadoes Sunday night, while tornadoes hit South Carolina and southern Kentucky on Monday.