A string of violent storms that spawned possible tornadoes on Friday capped off a wild week of severe weather across the southern and eastern U.S.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency on Friday in response to the tornadoes that left behind a trail of destruction on Thursday. This is the second time in less than a week that a state of emergency has been declared in Mississippi due to tornadoes.
As of Friday afternoon, at least five fatalities had been reported due to the storm. The latest fatality is from a traffic incident involving hydroplaning in Fort Gordon, Georgia, on Friday evening.
Earlier Friday morning, the storm caused the death of an 8-year-old girl in Leon County, Florida. The Leon County Sheriff’s Office report that a tree fell into a house in Woodville, located south of Tallahassee, killing the girl and injuring a 12-year-old boy.
Three deaths occurred on Thursday – one in Alabama and two in Mississippi.
A 42-year-old woman was killed Thursday night in St. Clair County, Alabama. Monica Clements died when a when a tree fell on her home, St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office told local news station WRBC. According to officials, Clements’ 10-year-old son was also home at the time of the incident. He sustained minor injuries.
In Mississippi, Amite County Coroner Campbell Sharp told local news station WLBT that 24-year-old Kenderick Magee was killed while driving in the severe weather. Magee’s car crashed on Bean Road in the Gillsburg Community. He died as a result of his injuries.
A tree fell onto a vehicle Thursday afternoon in Neshoba County, Mississippi, leaving one person dead, according to the Neshoba Democrat.
There have been widespread power outages as the storms blast eastward. Over 200,000 electric customers were without power on Friday evening from Mississippi to Florida and northward through Virginia, according to PowerOutage.us. North Carolina topped the list with over 70,000 outages. These numbers started to decline on Friday night.
Travel delays mounted as fallen trees and flooding made some roads impassable. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport had over 1,000 delays on Friday, and airline delays and cancellations will continue to have ripple effects for travelers across the nation.
Flash flood, severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings clashed in regions of Mississippi and Louisiana Thursday afternoon as a line of vigorous thunderstorms swept through the region. One tornado just missed striking Jackson, Mississippi, but instead passed through the nearby town of Clinton. Cars lay strewn across a Walmart parking lot, knocked over onto their sides while rain continued to fall.
In Utica, Mississippi, authorities reported a Hinds County school bus trapped by two trees on the road. Officials confirm that the driver and children are okay. According to officials, homes have been destroyed in Morton, Mississippi, after severe storms and a potential tornado moved through the area.
Storms ravaged Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle before moving into western Georgia on Thursday night. Having seen the destruction that played out in the Mississippi Valley over the past few days, many school districts in central Georgia canceled class for Friday as part of storm preparation tactics.
The multi-day outbreak began on Wednesday afternoon when powerful thunderstorms developed from the Texas Panhandle to central Iowa. One tornado was confirmed near Higgins, Texas, Wednesday evening. Two EF0 tornadoes also struck Missouri, one near Greenfield and another near Meinert.
A rare phenomenon occurred on Wednesday as twin tornadoes – two tornadoes appearing near each other at the same time – touched down 4 miles west-northwest of Shattuck, Oklahoma.