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Death toll up to three as severe weather batters the South



YAZOO CITY, Miss. — Much of the South faced more severe weather Tuesday that has killed at least three people, spawned tornadoes Sunday night and Monday and damaged homes and uprooted trees from Mississippi to West Virginia.

Parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, as well as corners of Arkansas and Georgia were at enhanced risk for the worst weather, according to the national Storm Prediction Center.

That zone is home to more than 11 million people and includes the cities of Nashville, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Jackson, Mississippi, forecasters said.

“We’ll see all three threats as far as hail, wind and tornadoes on Tuesday,” said Mike Edmonston, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Mississippi.

A Tennessee woman died when a tree fell on her home as storms moved through the state Tuesday, Weakley County Emergency Management Director Ray Wiggington told WKRN-TV. He said at least six mobile homes were damaged by the falling tree around 4 a.m.

Hail and high winds buffeted north Texas, where just before midnight on Monday, powerful winds from a likely tornado flipped three semi-trailers over on Interstate 35 in the driving rain, authorities said. Three people were taken to hospitals but their conditions were not immediately known, Dallas TV station WFAA reported.

Tuesday’s storms could include wind gusts of up to 70 mph (113 kph) and hail to the size of golf balls, forecasters said, noting that “tornadoes are likely Tuesday into Tuesday evening” in parts of Mississippi. A couple of tornado warnings were issued Tuesday morning in rural areas east of Nashville, Tennessee.

A tornado warning in Atlanta forced thousands to seek shelter Monday and one man was killed when a falling tree brought power lines onto his vehicle in Douglasville, Georgia, west of Atlanta, Douglas County spokesman Rick Martin said. And in middle Georgia, Carla Harris, 55, was killed after a tree fell onto her Bonaire home, Houston County emergency officials said.

More than 100,000 people were without electricity early Tuesday in states from Texas to Kentucky, according to poweroutage.us, which tracks utility outages.

The weather first turned rough in Mississippi on Sunday, where just south of Yazoo City, Vickie Savell was left with only scraps of the brand-new mobile home where she and her husband had moved in just eight days ago. It had been lifted off its foundation and moved about 25 feet (8 meters). It was completely destroyed.

“Oh my God, my first new house in 40 years and it’s gone,” she said Monday, amid tree tops strewn about the neighborhood and the roar of chainsaws as people worked to clear roads.

In Mississippi, forecasters confirmed 12 tornadoes Sunday evening and night, including the Yazoo City twister, which stretched for 30 miles (48 kilometers), and another tornado that moved through suburbs of Byram and Terry south of Jackson that produced a damage track 1,000 yards (910 meters) wide.

Derrick Pounds and his daughter Madison clean up debris around their residence on Elvis Presley Drive in Tupelo, Miss., on May 3, 2021.Thomas Graning / AP

In South Carolina, at least one tornado was reported Monday afternoon in Abbeville County. The tornado appeared to be on the ground for several miles, according to warnings from the National Weather Service. No injuries were immediately reported. In Greenwood, downed trees and power lines were reported, while a vehicle was blown over and a storage unit building was heavily damaged. Multiple locations reported golf ball-sized hail.

In the southern Kentucky town of Tompkinsville, a Monday morning storm later confirmed as a tornado damaged several homes and knocked down trees and power lines, Fire Chief Kevin Jones said. No injuries were reported, he said.

Alfred Lee cleans up and sorts through the debris in his backyard on May 3, 2021 after a tornado hit the area late Sunday night in Tupelo, Miss.Adam Robison / The Northeast Mississippi Daily via AP

In West Virginia, Jefferson County communications supervisor James Hayden said one person was injured when a possible tornado touched down at a lumber company Monday evening. The injury was minor, and the person was treated at the scene, he said. An exterior lumber shed collapsed, Hayden said.

National Weather Service surveyors confirmed one tornado west of Atlanta near where the motorist died. The twister was determined to have peak winds of 90 mph (145 kph) with a path that ran 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometers). At least 10 homes had trees on them.

The same thunderstorm sent people to shelter in more central parts of Atlanta may have produced at least one more tornado southwest of downtown. Possible tornado damage was also reported in the region around Athens.

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