Severe Weather Continues; Florida, Alabama Suffer Flooding

April 30, 2014

The Florida Panhandle and the Alabama Gulf Coast are dealing with severe flooding from torrential rains as a storm system continues to batter the Southeast.

The death toll from the dozens of tornadoes, heavy rains and other severe weather that have hit the Southeast, South Central and Midwest since Sunday reached 36 after a report of the death due to flooding of a Pensacola woman.

FEMA said 15 of the 30 tornadoes on April 27 struck Arkansas. Nineteen deaths have been attributed to the storms in that state.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 26 counties to support emergency response operations for communities experiencing heavy rains.

In Alabama, three people were reported dead, two in the northern part of the state and one in Tuscaloosa.

President Barack Obama, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley and other officials yesterday visited the devastation in Tuscaloosa where a tornado hit two mobile home parks, damaging an estimated 100 homes and downing trees and power lines. Gov. Bentley is visiting other hard-hit areas, Limestone County and the Jefferson County town of Kimberly, today.

In Mississippi, officials said nine people died Monday, seven of them in hard-hit Winston County. Two others died in separate instances of vehicles being blown off roadways.

In Tupelo, in northeastern Mississippi, every building in a two-block area was damaged, officials said.

Tennessee officials said two people died. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency was sending aid on Tuesday to help local officials search for more possible victims and try to clear roads blocked by debris. Winds destroyed several homes as well as an elementary school.

There were widespread power outages affecting homes and businesses.

Flood watches are in effect from Massachusetts to Alabama and the National Weather Service said severe thunderstorms could occur from Virginia to Georgia.

The weather is causing air traffic delays up and down the East coast.

The U.S. Storm Prediction Center (SPC) had issued tornado warnings for Alabama and Mississippi but by Tuesday that threat had passed. However, there were multiple reports of tornadoes touching down in North Carolina, one near Cove City.

According to Climate Central, an independent group of scientists and journalists who follow weather events, the string of recent tornadoes marked the end to a streak of 159 days without a tornado ranking an EF3 or higher on the Enhanced Fujita scale (which goes from 0 to 5).

Insurers were mobilizing their claims teams, even while advising victims to secure their properties against further damage and warning them to be on the lookout for possible repair scams.

Alfa Insurance said it had already received 721 storm-related claims in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia

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