The Deep South was slammed by powerful thunderstorms late Sunday into Monday, as a powerful storm system brought reported tornadoes, heavy rains and high winds that left tens of thousands without power.
The National Weather Service’s (NWS) Storm Prediction Center (SPC) said severe thunderstorms associated with a powerful cold front have shifted to coastal areas of the Carolinas and Georgia. Thunderstorms are also forecast to impact Florida through Monday.
“This isn’t the outbreak that we saw on Easter Sunday, where we had hundreds of reports of tornadoes, but we still have the risk as we go through the day today up toward the Southeast and then in towards the mid-Atlantic,” Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean said on “Fox & Friends First.”
The storms are quickly exiting offshore, but there is still the threat of heavy rainfall, flooding, hail and damaging winds before things improve midday, according to Dean.
The threat of severe weather shifted to coastal areas on Monday.
Tornado watches were in place in parts of Florida, where the SPC said that damaging wind gusts are the main concern, though isolated large hail and a tornado cannot be ruled out.
The greatest threat for tornadoes on Monday.
The weather system caused tornado watches to be issued across parts of Louisiana and Mississippi into Alabama and Georgia on Sunday night. It was the second Sunday in a row that the South was hit with severe weather.
Storm reports from severe weather on Sunday.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said one death was reported in Marion County due to the severe weather.
Another death was reported in Alabama, where Henry County Coroner Derek Wright told the Associated Press that 61-year-old Jerry Oliver Williams died when the storm struck a rural area about 11:30 p.m. Sunday.
The area was under a tornado warning when winds flipped the home Williams shared with his wife and child, Wright said.
“He was in a mobile home, and the mobile home was destroyed by a tornado,” Wright told the AP. “He was in the wreckage of the mobile home. His wife and child were with him, and they were OK.
At least one “extremely large” tornado was reported in Baxterville, Miss., in Lamar County, with debris reported to be lofting into the air, the Hattiesburg American reported.
Lamar County Emergency Management Director James Smith told the paper that officials were making their way to the area but were impeded by downed trees.
“We have reports of two houses damaged, but there may be more than that,” he told the paper.
Flash flood warnings were in effect around the region, according to the NWS. Some streets in Hattiesburg, Miss., were inundated by heavy rains late Sunday, with local police reporting “multiple vehicles flooded out” under one overpass.
Flash flooding was reported in Hattiesburg, Miss. due to the severe storms.
(Hattiesburg Police Department)
The city of Hattiesburg tweeted for people to stay off several roads made impassible by the storms: “We’re already flooded out, and we have hours of rain ahead.”
High winds also uprooted trees and left blankets of hail on the ground in some areas in Alabama earlier in the day during the first round of severe weather. Power outage site poweroutage.us reported more than 50,000 customers without power in Alabama and Mississippi.
Hail and wind damage in Alexander City, Alabama as severe weather moved through on Sunday.
(Diana Atkins via Storyful)
Wind and hail damage was reported in Alexander City, Ala., as the storms moved through on Sunday. The city’s police department encouraged residents to remain at home, saying some roads in the area may not be passable as a result of storm damage.
While conditions are forecast to improve throughout the day on Monday and Tuesday, forecasters are warning that another round of potentially severe storms may arrive for midweek.
The next threat for severe weather on Wednesday.
According to Dean, the same areas impacted by storms on Sunday may face severe weather on Wednesday, including Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and into Alabama.
“We are into that severe weather season right now, unfortunately, and the severe threat is going to be ongoing through the next couple of weeks so we’ll certainly keep you posted,” Dean said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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