Strong Storms Cause Tornadoes, Deaths Across Southeast

April 23, 2019

Strong storms roared across the Southeast last week, killing at least two in Mississippi and a woman in Alabama while leaving more than 100,000 people without power across Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. A girl was also killed in Florida after a tree fell on her home.

National Weather Service forecasters said they believe multiple tornadoes hit southwest and central Mississippi on Thursday, although they won’t be sure until damage is surveyed. Heavy winds also were reported in Louisiana earlier in the day and in central Alabama as the system quickly pushed eastward.

A Mississippi man was killed Thursday afternoon when his car hit a tree on a highway south of Philadelphia, Mississippi, Neshoba County Coroner John Stephens told local news outlets. Stephens did not immediately release the man’s name.

Kenderick Magee, 24, was also killed while driving in the storm, WLBT-TV reported. Magee fatally crashed near the rural town of Gillsburg in southwest Mississippi, Amite County Coroner Campbell Sharp said.

Authorities on Friday reported a third storm-related death in Mississippi. Freddie Mobley, 63, died while helping cut a tree that had fallen on a house, Lincoln County Coroner Clay McMorris told the Daily Leader of Brookhaven. Mobley had made a few cuts on the tree and backed away when the trunk shifted before he could move, Deputy Coroner Ricky Alford said.

Alabama authorities said a woman was killed Thursday night after the strong storms knocked a tree onto her mobile home in St Clair County. Emergency crews found 42-year-old Monica Clements dead inside the home. Clements’ 10-year-old son suffered minor injuries.

Damage was heavy in the Mississippi hamlet of Learned, about 20 miles (32 kilometers) southwest of Jackson. Large oaks were uprooted from saturated ground, landing on at least a dozen houses.

To the northeast, Scott County Emergency Management Director Mike Marlow said reports indicated a number of homes were damaged near Morton and the roof blew off a gas station near Lena. In Philadelphia, Mississippi, a wall collapsed at a medical clinic and the storm knocked down traffic signals and canopies and pushed trees onto houses, the Neshoba Democrat reported.

Forecasters confirmed that 14 tornadoes had touched down in Mississippi and damage from the storm system was reported in at least 24 of the state’s 82 counties. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency – the second one he has declared in less than a week due to tornadoes.

The same system produced tornadoes and hail earlier in North Texas, the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma and southeastern Kansas. Seven tornadoes were reported across the Plains from the northeastern Texas Panhandle to southeastern Kansas. Strong winds hit elsewhere Wednesday evening, toppling utility poles and trees and downing power lines in parts of North Texas.

The strong storm system then barreled into Florida on Friday, killing an 8-year-old girl.

A tree fell onto a house Friday in Woodville, Florida, south of Tallahassee, killing the girl and injuring a 12-year-old boy, according to the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. The office said in a statement that the girl died at a hospital while the boy suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Their names weren’t immediately released.

The threat on Friday shifted farther east, where tornado warnings covered parts of northeast Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia. Four suspected tornado touchdowns were reported Friday night. Twisters touched down in Reston, Fredericks Hall, Barham and Forksville. Homes and small structures were damaged, but no injuries were immediately reported.

The national Storm Prediction Center said 9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were at a moderate risk of severe weather. The region includes the Charlotte, North Carolina metro area.

Forecasters confirmed Saturday that four tornadoes touched down in the South Carolina Midlands on Friday.

The National Weather Service said survey teams had assessed the damage from the storm. Two tornadoes occurred in Newberry County and two were in Orangeburg Counts.

National Weather Service Meteorologist John Quagliariello tells WIS-TV that the tornadoes caused trees to be snapped or uprooted. He says several trees landed on homes.

In Georgia, the storm system knocked down trees, caused flooding and cut off power to tens of thousands of people.

A tree came down on an apartment complex in an Atlanta suburb, but only one person reported a minor injury and was treated at the scene, Gwinnett County fire spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In Forsyth County northeast of Atlanta, three firefighters suffered minor injuries when their firetruck overturned during heavy rain and wind, Fire Department Division Chief Jason Shivers told the newspaper.

Associated Press reporters Jeff Amy and Rogelio Solis contributed to this report.

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