- A spate of tornadoes began in Texas on Monday afternoon, causing damage to homes, businesses and power lines.
- One person died after a tornado ripped through Sherwood Shores, Texas officials told local media.
- The storm system is now moving east, where more than 50 million people are at risk for severe weather Tuesday and Wednesday.
A storm system that caused at least one reported death, several injuries and widespread damage in Texas and Oklahoma on Monday shifted east and brought severe thunderstorms and reports of tornadoes in the South.
A large tornado touched down Tuesday evening in New Orleans, Louisiana, the National Weather Service said. Within 20 minutes, the tornado and storm had already moved east out of the city.
At least 50 million people were under threat of severe storms Tuesday and Wednesday, the Storm Prediction Center said. Southern Louisiana, much of Mississippi and western Alabama face the most significant tornado threats with a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms, according to AccuWeather.
The weather could affect more than a dozen states from the southern Plains to the southeastern coast, including “violent and life-threatening thunderstorms” and tornadoes like those that ripped through Texas and parts of Oklahoma on Monday, according to AccuWeather.
High winds uprooted trees in Ridgeland, Mississippi, as a possible tornado passed the Jackson-area city Tuesday afternoon, but there were no immediate reports of any injuries or serious damage to buildings.
Forecasters issued multiple tornado warnings for the state, and alerts spread into Alabama as the line of storms moved eastward. More than 90,000 homes and businesses were left without power from Texas to Mississippi.
Thunderstorms and the potential for several strong tornadoes are forecast Tuesday for parts of the lower Mississippi Valley and central Gulf Coast, including much of Mississippi, Louisiana and western Alabama, according to the National Weather Service.
The storms may produce flash flooding, damaging hail as large as baseballs and powerful winds with likes of 80 to 90 mph.
AccuWeather forecasters warned of “extremely dangerous” “rain-wrapped tornadoes” that occur when heavy rain reduces the visibility of a tornado, making it difficult for residents to spot a twister and see where it’s headed.
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Wednesday, the risk of thunderstorms will shift farther east, bringing the potential for tornadoes to areas from northern Florida to eastern Virginia, AccuWeather forecasters said. Weakened storms could reach the Atlanta area by early Wednesday morning.
‘I thought I was going to die’: Tornadoes rip through Texas, Oklahoma
The spate of tornadoes began in Texas on Monday afternooncausing catastrophic damage to homes, businesses and power lines.
More than 48,000 Texas households were without power Tuesday morning, according to poweroutage.us. Several Houston area opened schools late Tuesday as thousands of residents faced power outages and a flash flood warning.
One person died after a tornado whipped through Sherwood Shores, Texas, injuring several people, the Texas Department of Public Safety confirmed to local media.
Farther south, three people were severely injured in Houston County after two mobile homes were destroyed, local mean reported. In Elgin, a suburb of Austin, three people were injuredincluding two who were rescued Monday night after they were trapped in a collapsed structure, police said.
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Four people were rescued Tuesday after they were trapped under flattened buildings in the town of Bowie about 70 miles northwest of Fort Worth, Fox 4 News reported. No injuries were reported, according to the news station.
“I thought I was going to die,” Michael Talamantez told the Austin American-Statesman, part of the USA TODAY Network, after a tornado destroyed his house in Round Rock. Neighbors scrambled to cover their damaged roofs with tarps before more rain moved in.
A storm ripped the wall and roof off parts of Jacksboro High School and left debris scattered in the city about 60 miles northwest of Fort Worth.
Sixty to 80 homes, as well as Jacksboro’s high school and elementary school were damaged, WFAA-TV reported. Minor injuries were reported, but all students and staff members were safe, officials said.
Jacksboro High School Principal Starla Sanders told WFAA the damage was hard to process.
“It brought tears to my eyes,” she said. “It’s hard to see. I’ve lived here for 15 years. I love this place.”
The storms caused damage across much of Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday night at a news conference.
“We know there are many people whose lives have been completely disrupted and people who’ve lost their homes,” Abbott said.
Contributing: Roberto Villalpando, Claire Osborn and Tony Plohetski, Austin American-Statesman; Celina Tebor, USA TODAY; Associated Press
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism