Aftermath of destruction: Severe thunderstorms that sparked tornadoes in five deep south states roll on towards Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas

 A system of severe thunderstorms that spawned tornadoes in Alabama and Mississippi was moving across the U.S. Southeast on Thursday, threatening northern Florida, southern Georgia and the Carolinas, the U.S. National Weather Service said.

The storms left splintered homes and broken trees across the deep southern states, and more than 40 million Americans were at risk of severe weather on Thursday from Florida to Virginia, as well as a small area that extends westward into the Ohio valley.

In southwest Alabama, at least two people were hurt Wednesday, when a tornado destroyed a house. Pieces of homes and twisted metal laid amid broken trees in the hardest-hit areas, but no one died and the region appeared to escape the kind of horrific toll many feared after ominous predictions of monster twisters and huge hail. 

The storms began to move east on Thursday, forcing a TV newscast out of their studio for a few minutes, but largely sparing the Atlantic Coast states any significant damage.

The storms were likely to cover less of the region than earlier forecast but their potential severity remained unchanged, according to forecasters at the NWS Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

Chilton County, Alabama:\u00A0Storm damage is seen on Thursday March 18, 2021, near the Enterprise community, after overnight storms hit the area.\u00A0The storms left splintered homes and broken trees across the deep southern states, and began to move east on Thursday,\u00A0hreatening northern Florida, southern Georgia and the Carolinas

Chilton County, Alabama: Storm damage is seen on Thursday March 18, 2021, near the Enterprise community, after overnight storms hit the area. The storms left splintered homes and broken trees across the deep southern states, and began to move east on Thursday, hreatening northern Florida, southern Georgia and the Carolinas

Chilton County, Alabama:\u00A0Friends try to salvage items from what is left of Trent Cox\' home near the Enterprise community.\u00A0The storms were likely to cover less of the eastern region than earlier forecast but their potential severity remained unchanged

Chilton County, Alabama: Friends try to salvage items from what is left of Trent Cox' home near the Enterprise community. The storms were likely to cover less of the eastern region than earlier forecast but their potential severity remained unchanged

Clearwater Beach, Florida:\u00A0Beachgoers enjoy the Gulf of Mexico before a storm front approaches. Flags and cones warning people not to swim in the ocean line the beach

Clearwater Beach, Florida: Beachgoers enjoy the Gulf of Mexico before a storm front approaches. Flags and cones warning people not to swim in the ocean line the beach

Hale County, Alabama: A tornado touches down near Moundville in Hale County Alabama, Wednesday, March 17, 2021, causing damage to homes and downing trees.\u00A0The same storm responsible for multiple days of severe weather, including tornadoes over the Southern states, will move off the East coast on Friday

Hale County, Alabama: A tornado touches down near Moundville in Hale County Alabama, Wednesday, March 17, 2021, causing damage to homes and downing trees. The same storm responsible for multiple days of severe weather, including tornadoes over the Southern states, will move off the East coast on Friday

Chilton County, Albama:\u00A0Sherrell Eaton salvages items from her home near the Enterprise community after the deep south was battered by storms, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake

Chilton County, Albama: Sherrell Eaton salvages items from her home near the Enterprise community after the deep south was battered by storms, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake

Chilton County, Alabama:\u00A0Sherrell Eaton\'s collapsed home near the Enterprise community. A car is seen buried beneath the rubble.\u00A0There were reports of 21 tornados - across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana - by Wednesday night, the Storm Prediction Center said

Chilton County, Alabama: Sherrell Eaton's collapsed home near the Enterprise community. A car is seen buried beneath the rubble. There were reports of 21 tornados - across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana - by Wednesday night, the Storm Prediction Center said

Burnsville, Alabama: A destroyed mobile home on Alabama State Route 14 on Thursday, March 18, 2021. Multiple tornados and severe storms his the state

Burnsville, Alabama: A destroyed mobile home on Alabama State Route 14 on Thursday, March 18, 2021. Multiple tornados and severe storms his the state

People gather in a tornado shelter at the campus of Alabama University, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, March 17, 2021
People gather in a tornado shelter at the campus of Alabama University, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, March 17, 2021

Tuscaloosa, Alabama: People gather in a tornado shelter at the campus of Alabama University, March 17, 2021


'It doesn't look to be necessarily as widespread as we thought yesterday,' Jeremy Grams, lead forecaster at the center, told Reuters news agency on Thursday. 'There is still at least a threat for ... at least a couple - if not a few - strong tornadoes in that area from eastern Georgia up through eastern North Carolina.'

Isolated severe storms are also possible from southern Ohio into the central Appalachians, according to the NWS.

There were scary moments during the storms. In High Point, North Carolina, WGHP-TV meteorologist Van Denton ordered everyone off the set during the 5 p.m. broadcast and into a makeup room for a few minutes after a storm with a tornado warning moved right over the station.

No serious damage or injuries were immediately reported in North Carolina from the storms near High Point and Charlotte, which both had tornado warnings. 

'I've never heard the roof rattle like that. We've never had to leave the studio during a broadcast,' said anchor Neill McNeill, who has been with the station 37 years.

In Alabama, a women and her three-year-old niece were injured, though not severely, according to CNN. They were thrown from their home on Wednesday as a suspected tornado hit the area in Clarke County, destroying their home, the the National Weather Service said, citing emergency management officials in the area.

'This area is a disaster,' said the injured woman's brother, Ramond Barren, told WALA. 'There's trees down. It tore up two cars in the backyard.' 

Wayne County, Mississippi:\u00A0Mitch Hendry cuts through fallen trees on his property with a chainsaw after a tornado came through on St. Patrick\'s Day near Strengthford Cooley Road in Wayne County, Miss., Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Wayne County, Mississippi: Mitch Hendry cuts through fallen trees on his property with a chainsaw after a tornado came through on St. Patrick's Day near Strengthford Cooley Road in Wayne County, Miss., Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Chilton County, Alabama:\u00A0Chris Baker salvages items from his father\'s home near the Enterprise community in Chilton County, Ala., on March 18, 2021, after overnight storms hit the area

Chilton County, Alabama: Chris Baker salvages items from his father's home near the Enterprise community in Chilton County, Ala., on March 18, 2021, after overnight storms hit the area

Burnsville, Alabama:\u00A0A destroyed mobile home on Alabama State Route 14 in Burnsville on March 18.\u00A0Multiple tornadoes and severe storms blanketed Alabama overnight on Wednesday

Burnsville, Alabama: A destroyed mobile home on Alabama State Route 14 in Burnsville on March 18. Multiple tornadoes and severe storms blanketed Alabama overnight on Wednesday

Burnsville, Alabama:\u00A0Crews clear debris on Alabama State Route 14 in Burnsville, Ala., on Thursday, March 18, 2021

Burnsville, Alabama: Crews clear debris on Alabama State Route 14 in Burnsville, Ala., on Thursday, March 18, 2021

Clanton, Alabama: Debris is tangled in an uprooted tree laying on a weather-damaged property at the intersection of County Road 24 and 37 on the morning following a large outbreak of severe storms across the southeast

Clanton, Alabama: Debris is tangled in an uprooted tree laying on a weather-damaged property at the intersection of County Road 24 and 37 on the morning following a large outbreak of severe storms across the southeast


'Overall, we have a lot to be grateful for, as it could have been much worse,' Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement.

Forecasters issued a string of tornado warnings Thursday morning around the region where Alabama, Georgia and Florida intersect, but there were no immediate reports of major damage.

Forecasters worried the storms would intensify as they move into South Carolina and North Carolina on Thursday afternoon, but they mostly stayed below severe limits.

In South Carolina, the severe weather threat led the state Senate president to caution senators to stay home Thursday while urging staff to work remotely for their safety. House Speaker Jay Lucas kept his promise from the day before to meet less than an hour Thursday so members could beat the severe storms home.

Dozens of schools systems in Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi canceled classes, switched to online learning or dismissed students early, and Mississippi State University moved to virtual teaching because of the potential for danger at its campuses in Starkville and Meridian.

Large vaccination clinics where hundreds of people an hour can get shots without leaving their vehicles were canceled in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee.  

Storms were possible all the way from northern Texas in the west to northern Illinois and as far east as the Carolinas, the forecasters said, and the weather service issued more than 50 tornado warnings in Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma. Tornado watches included parts of seven states

Storms were possible all the way from northern Texas in the west to northern Illinois and as far east as the Carolinas, the forecasters said, and the weather service issued more than 50 tornado warnings in Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi and Oklahoma. Tornado watches included parts of seven states

More than 40 million Americans were at risk of severe weather on Thursday from Florida to Virginia and including a small area that extends westward into the Ohio valley

More than 40 million Americans were at risk of severe weather on Thursday from Florida to Virginia and including a small area that extends westward into the Ohio valley 

Fairhope, Alabama: Lighting strikes the ground in Alabama as storms roll across the state
Fairhope, Alabama: Lighting strikes the ground in Alabama as storms roll across the state

Fairhope, Alabama: Lighting strikes the ground in Alabama as storms roll across the state


In the Mississippi capital of Jackson, state employees were warned to head to stairwells if they hear weather sirens. Near Birmingham, labor organizers canceled an outdoors event at an Amazon facility where workers are voting on union representation.  

The metro Atlanta area was pelted by heavy rain with intense lightning and strong wind gusts of up to 50 mph (80 kph). Morehouse College tweeted that it was delaying the opening of its campus until 11 a.m. and that faculty and staff should not arrive until after that time. All classes before then were to be held virtually, it said.

On Wednesday, possible tornadoes in Alabama knocked down trees, toppled power lines and damaged homes. Some of the worst problems were in rural Clarke County, where authorities said two people were hurt when a home was destroyed and several others were damaged.

Moundville, Alabama: Damage to Bobbi Harris\' property on Old Greensboro Road is seen, Wednesday

Moundville, Alabama: Damage to Bobbi Harris' property on Old Greensboro Road is seen, Wednesday

Moundville, Alabama: Storms pounded the Deep South Wednesday, the severe weather is forecast to shift eastward Thursday

Moundville, Alabama: Storms pounded the Deep South Wednesday, the severe weather is forecast to shift eastward Thursday

Moundville, Alabama: A just sold camper was destroyed by severe weather Wednesday

Moundville, Alabama: A just sold camper was destroyed by severe weather Wednesday 

Moundville, Alabama: Bystanders look on at a residence on Old Greensboro Road where Ryan Lavender and his dog survived by sheltering in an interior room as the roof was torn off

Moundville, Alabama: Bystanders look on at a residence on Old Greensboro Road where Ryan Lavender and his dog survived by sheltering in an interior room as the roof was torn off

Between Montgomery and Birmingham in Chilton County, a storm destroyed at least three homes and roofs were yanked off houses in Moundville, south of Tuscaloosa. 'There's a lot of trees down. I guess it had to be a tornado; it got out of here pretty fast,' said Michael Brown, whose family owns Moundville Ace Hardware and Building.

Dozens of people gathered in a gymnasium that was opened as a shelter in Tuscaloosa, where more than 50 people died in a twister during a weather outbreak that occurred 10 years ago next month. 

Additional damage was reported in Louisiana, Tennessee and Mississippi, where video showed an apparent tornado at Brookhaven. High winds blew down signs and trees in northeast Texas, and hailstones the size of baseballs were reported near the Alabama-Mississippi line, the weather service said.

As of Thursday morning, the Storm Prediction Center had fielded 152 reports of severe weather, including 24 reports of tornadoes, some of which led to serious damage of homes and businesses in Alabama and Mississippi, according to media reports.

'Probably the worst part of yesterday was across Alabama, that has all shifted to the east today,' Grams said. 

Homes and cars on Waterbury Drive were heavily damaged from severe weather, Wednesday in Moundville, Alabama

Homes and cars on Waterbury Drive were heavily damaged from severe weather, Wednesday in Moundville, Alabama

AMU RV service and repair on Old Greensboro Road where severe weather destroyed multiple client-owned recreational vehicles and tore the roof off the workshop with people inside, who survived, Wednesday in Moundville, Alabama

AMU RV service and repair on Old Greensboro Road where severe weather destroyed multiple client-owned recreational vehicles and tore the roof off the workshop with people inside, who survived, Wednesday in Moundville, Alabama

Homes and cars along Waterbury Drive are seen damaged, Wednesday in Moundville, Alabama after severe weather

Homes and cars along Waterbury Drive are seen damaged, Wednesday in Moundville, Alabama after severe weather

More than 70,000 homes and businesses were without power at one point from Texas to Alabama, which was under a state of emergency, and communities across the South used social media to share the location of tornado shelters. 

The severe weather threat led the South Carolina Senate president to caution senators to state home Thursday while urging staff to work remotely for their safety. 

House Speaker Jay Lucas said that chamber would meet less than an hour Thursday to take up routine motions to be able to debate a budget next week - then adjourn.

'If you are in a situation where it is perilous that you come I´m asking you not to come,' Lucas said. 'If you can come, give us a quorum and do these few things we need to do, we will be out of here in a hurry.'

Nearly all of South Carolina is under a moderate risk of severe storms with forecasters also saying there could be a few strong tornadoes.  

Aftermath of destruction: Severe thunderstorms that sparked tornadoes in five deep south states roll on towards Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas Aftermath of destruction: Severe thunderstorms that sparked tornadoes in five deep south states roll on towards Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 06:59 Rating: 5

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