A severe weather outbreak struck Sunday across much of the South, where at least six people have died and homes and buildings were destroyed. This multiday event, unleashing damaging winds, large hail and tornadoes, will shift from the South to the Southeast and mid-Atlantic today.
On Sunday, storms containing wind gusts of up to 70 mph raged across portions of Gulf Coast states, while tornadoes touched down, some likely on the high end of the intensity scale.
Through Sunday evening, tornadoes and violent thunderstorms had damaged or destroyed homes and businesses in Alabama, eastern Louisiana, and southern Mississippi, where the six fatalities were reported, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
On Sunday evening, tornado watches still covered much of this area as well as northwestern Georgia. The watches in central and southeastern Mississippi and central and southern Alabama were designated “particularly dangerous situation” watches due to the potential for “a few intense tornadoes,” and widespread large hail and damaging winds.
Tornadoes touched down in Mississippi. The National Weather Service declared a “tornado emergency,” the most severe type of tornado alert, between Jackson and Hattiesburg. Radar indicated an intense tornado shortly after 4 p.m. local time. The tornado tore through southeastern Mississippi, passing close to the towns of Bassfield, Seminary, Soso and Heidelberg before it appeared to dissipate just after 5:30 p.m. local time. The National Weather Service estimated potential peak winds of 170 to 205 mph.
A second tornado developed in southeastern Mississippi and followed a similar path, passing just north of Bassfield, close to Collins and northeast toward Enterprise. The National Weather Service also declared a tornado emergency for this twister through 6 p.m. local time before the tornado started to weaken.
The Walthall County, Mississippi, Sheriff’s Office reported one fatality, numerous injuries and many homes “flattened,” according to the Weather Service National.
In Alabama, the National Weather Service had not confirmed tornadoes as of Sunday evening; however, in Jefferson County, home to Birmingham, the National Weather Service received a reported of “several businesses destroyed.”
Earlier Sunday afternoon, a tornado caused damage near Yazoo City, Mississippi, while another tornado damaged more than a dozen homes in Monroe, Louisiana, and caused destruction at the city’s airport. Radar scans detected debris from the twister lofted high into the air, with the Jackson, Mississippi, office of the National Weather Service issuing warnings.
The severe weather threat continues overnight with the potential for more dangerous thunderstorms, including a tornado risk, in parts of the East Coast today.
The stretch of dangerous weather began Saturday as hail larger than softballs pummeled Del Rio, Texas. A number of rotating supercell thunderstorms towered high above west Texas and Hill Country, bringing an early morning tornado scare just north of Austin.
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