ATLANTA, GA – A dangerous storm system punched its way across a large part of the South early Tuesday after killing at least two people earlier in the week as high winds and isolated tornadoes damaged homes, downed trees and left scattered power outages around several states.
The Storm Prediction Center estimated that more than 36 million people were in the path of damaging storms that sprang out of the Midwest earlier in the week and also left several people injured.
Forecasters warned residents of Georgia to brace for a wet and messy commute during the Tuesday morning rush hour, particularly around Atlanta and its suburbs. The meteorologists said tornadoes remained a threat in several areas along with possible flooding in low-lying areas as up to 3 inches of rain were expected in spots. Weather radar showed a vast arcing storm system extending from southern Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico off the Florida Panhandle early Tuesday.
In Alabama a day earlier, a tree fell on a mobile home about 25 miles northwest of Birmingham, killing a 75-year-old woman and injuring her husband, a coroner said. A tornado also touched down near Ashdown, Arkansas – about 150 miles southwest of Little Rock – killing a man and injuring his wife when their home was destroyed Monday, authorities said.
Meteorologist Joe Goudsward at the National Weather Service in Little Rock said that tornado was an EF2 on a scale that rates twisters from EF0 to EF5, adding a second tornado also was sighted in that state. Two tornadoes also touched down Monday in Missouri, causing some roof damage and toppling trees, according to the National Weather Service.
In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency Monday even as the severe weather was still moving across his state. The storms downed trees and power lines in Louisiana, leaving thousands without electricity.
And in Texas, lightning was suspected in a fire that set ablaze an oil well site near Longview, while downed trees were reported in parts of northern Louisiana.
Schools in several states canceled evening activities and delayed classes Tuesday. And the soggy weather led to the postponement of Game 3 of the American League Championship Series in Kansas City, between the Royals and the Baltimore Orioles.
Late Sunday, damaging winds knocked out electricity and overturned trucks on Interstate 40 in western Oklahoma as powerful thunderstorms pummeled that state. A portion of the interstate in Oklahoma was shut down briefly Monday morning to clear a downed power line before reopening by midday.