Severe storms send tornadoes rampaging through South
Atlanta — Tornadoes hit Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi on Thursday evening as severe storms rumbled through parts of the South.
In Alabama, tornadoes touched down in Ardmore in the northern part of the state and in Eldridge in the central region, according to county emergency management officials Rita White and Harry Markham. There are no immediate reports of damage or any injuries.
The National Weather Service confirmed two tornadoes touched down in southeastern Louisiana, bringing down trees and power lines but causing no injuries.
An apparent tornado also damaged homes and downed trees near Columbus, Mississippi.
Lowndes County Emergency Management director Cindy Lawrence says reports indicated at least a dozen homes were damaged near New Hope, between Columbus and the Alabama state line.
Lawrence said it was unclear whether anyone had been injured. She said emergency workers were responding by foot in some places because so many trees are blocking roads.
Brian Karg, a New Hope resident, told the Associated Press in a phone interview he was at home with his girlfriend and daughter Thursday evening as the weather began to worsen in the northeast Mississippi community.
After sending his girlfriend and daughter to the bathroom to hide, Karg looked outside to see a funnel cloud coming over his house. He snapped a picture as the twister, which hadn’t yet touched ground, passed over nearby trees.
“You always get a little nervous, but me being a guy, I want to see if it’s coming so I can be prepared,” Karg said, explaining why he too didn’t hide.
Eric Carpenter, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Pearl, Mississippi, said radar detected a tornado debris signature beginning about 6:20 p.m. The storm crossed into Alabama and wind damage was reported in the Millport area there.
More than 12,000 power outages in the area were reported by 4-County Electric Power Association in Mississippi.
The slew of tornadoes in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama come a day after at least seven people were injured when severe storms spawned multiple tornado touchdowns in northeastern Oklahoma.
In Oklahoma, a tornado touched down and lifted up numerous times Wednesday night as it swept through the northern Tulsa and Owasso areas, according to weather service meteorologist Amy Jankowski.
About a square mile of a mostly residential area sustained damage, with one home destroyed and other residences and businesses sustaining roof and structural damage, Tulsa Fire Department spokesman Stan May said.
Police and fire officials were going door to door in the area. There were no immediate reports of anyone missing, May said.
“We want to check each house,” he said. “We’ve got some elderly people in the area. We want to make sure people have the medicines they need.”
Seven people were taken to hospitals by Emergency Medical Services Authority, an ambulance service provider, spokeswoman Kelli Bruer said. Bruer said one was in critical condition and several were in serious condition. May said a few other people suffered minor injuries but declined treatment.
Tulsa streets and water departments were assisting with road barricades and debris removal.
The weather service’s Storm Prediction Center said the worst threat of tornadoes and large hail was in northern Mississippi and Alabama, along with parts of Tennessee and southern Kentucky. Forecasters say more than 8 million people will be at an “enhanced” risk of severe weather in parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee.
The National Weather Service says it will investigate storm damage in Lamar County, Mississippi, that may have been caused by a tornado Thursday morning. Meteorologist Joanne Culin in Jackson said trees were down in two areas of Purvis and one crashed into a house. There were no reports of injuries.
Heavy rain in the Mississippi Delta caused some widespread flooding. Sunflower County Emergency Manager Ben Grant said about two dozen homes in Moorhead were evacuated.
Forecasters said storms in central Alabama are expected to continue through 3 a.m.
In Georgia, forecasters said more than 4 inches of rain could fall in western parts of the state.