AccuWeather.com is wrapping up live coverage of the severe weather that spawned tornadoes, gusty winds and heavy rain across parts of the South. For additional coverage of the lingering severe weather danger in the Southeast and Ohio Valley on Wednesday, please read our forecast story. Thank you for staying up to date with the storm on AccuWeather.com. For additional coverage, you can stream AccuWeather NOW anytime on our website. Stay up to date on the latest weather in your area by downloading the AccuWeather mobile app and visiting AccuWeather.com.
AccuWeather meteorologists warn that the chance of severe storms has not ended. Residents of Texas where tornadoes touched down on Monday will continue to get a chance to clean up through the rest of this week. After tornadoes in portions of Louisiana and Mississippi on Tuesday, a dry day is expected on Wednesday. However, farther to the east, a swath from far southern Virginia to Florida will have a chance of flooding downpours, hail, damaging wind gusts and isolated tornadoes on Wednesday. This threat could even extend into Thursday along the coast. While severe thunderstorms are forecast to be less widespread than Monday and Tuesday, it only takes one tornado going through a city to cause damage, as witnessed in New Orleans on Tuesday evening.
Search and rescue operations have begun in New Orleans in the wake of a Tuesday evening tornado.
The Louisiana Office of the State Fire Marshal has reported that United States Army Reserve teams from the New Orleans and Baton Rouge areas have been dispatched to tornado-afflicted areas. The office reports that over 100 responders have joined in the effort during the 9 p.m. CDT hour. One hard-hit area was St. Bernard Parish, where there is “major, widespread” damage, Parish President Guy McGinnis told WDSU-TV in New Orleans. Search and rescue operations were also underway in the parish, with no reports of injuries at of 8:22 p.m. CDT. Parish Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann reported of people trapped in the area, with McGinnis confirming the sheriff’s statement.
“State agencies are assisting local officials as needed as they assess the damage and impacts of these tornadoes,” Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards stated on Twitter. “My prayers are with you in Southeast Louisiana tonight. Please be safe.”
Thunderstorms in Alabama, particularly the northern part of the state, dumped over 2 inches of rain in locations such as Huntsville and Birmingham. Although the destructive tornadoes stayed farther south and west, heavy rain presents its own risks. Some roads may be flooded, and it can be very difficult to gauge the depth of floodwaters, especially at night. In some cases, the road beneath the water may even be washed away. Motorists are urged to never cross a flooded road. The heavy rain is now beginning to move into northwestern Georgia.
St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis said that at least one person was killed by the tornado in Arabi, where extensive damage also occurred due to the storm, according to NOLA.com. The tornado and the associated storm were a part of the same system that hit parts of Texas and other south-central states this week, meaning that this fatality is the second to be associated with the system. A parish over, Orleans Parish Mayor LaToya Cantrell said that there have been no reports of casualties or significant damage as of Tuesday evening.
The Big Easy is no stranger to tornadoes, with 7 significant (EF2 or stronger) twisters crisscrossing the metro area since 1950, according to the Tornado Archive. The most recent large tornado was an EF3 which raked 10 miles through areas from just east of the industrial canal to Lake Borgne on Feb. 7, 2017, injuring 33 people. In 1953, an EF2 tornado took a path similar to Tuesday evening's twister, tracking from the Mississippi River at Algiers northeastward through the Lower Ninth Ward to Route 90 (the Chef Menteur Highway) on Jul. 17.
The tornado that ripped through New Orleans Tuesday evening has left significant damage to the city’s Lower Ninth Ward neighborhood. The New Orleans Fire Department has requested a "major EMS response" following the tornado, with reports of injuries and residents trapped. The damage was said to be "significant" in parts of Lower Ninth Ward and nearby suburb Arabi. A Fox 8 New Orleans report from the area shows immense structural damage, overturned cars and downed power lines. The tornado was first confirmed by the New Orleans branch of the National Weather Service at approximately 7:35 p.m. CDT. At 7:50 p.m. CDT, the New Orleans NWS gave an “all-clear” notice to the hub’s residents, stating that “the tornado and associated storm have moved to the east.” The NWS reported showers in the area, but “none are severe” as of the time of the update.
A tornado touched down in the New Orleans area, Louisiana, on March 22. (Preston Trahan via Storyful)
Tornadoes continued to wreak havoc on the southern United States as yet another twister was confirmed, this time in Alabama Tuesday night. At 6:04 p.m. CT, a report of a tornado on the ground was indicated by radar near the small town of Eutaw, Alabama. The western Alabama city puts Alabama on the list of tornado-afflicted states, joining Mississippi, Texas and Oklahoma.
Heading roughly 70 miles south down the western border of Alabama, Choctaw County has been reported with storm damage. An earlier storm in the county led to what one resident called “total devastation” in the town of Lisman.
A total of 11 tornadoes have already been confirmed in Texas.
The National Weather Service survey team has given preliminary ratings to 16 tornadoes that ripped through parts of Texas on Monday:
• At 4:30 p.m. CT Tuesday, the NWS rated a deadly tornado that impacted the Sherwood Shores community in far northern Grayson County, north of Dallas, as an EF2 twister with maximum wind speeds of 130 mph. A 73-year-old woman was killed and at least 11 injured. NWS reported that the same tornado continued into Oklahoma.
• An hour earlier Tuesday, the NWS Fort Worth survey team stated that the "significant" tornado that impacted Jacksboro, Texas, was categorized as an EF3 twister, with maximum wind speeds clocked at 150 mph. The tornado caused extensive damage to the local high school, among other buildings.
• The NWS Houston/Galveston storm survey teams have so far confirmed five tornadoes, including an EF2 in the Crockett area; an EF1 in the Beasley area, and an EF0 in Snook, and anticipates sending out more survey teams in the coming days.
• The survey team also confirmed an EF1 tornado with maximum wind speeds of 95 mph hit Possum Kingdom Lake in Palo Pinto County, located 110 miles west of Fort Worth.
• In Montague County, three tornadoes were confirmed - two in Bowie and one in Nocona - all rated EF1, with winds of 95 mph to 110 mph.
• A tornado that hit south and southeast of Decatur, Texas in Wise County was given an EF0 preliminary rating with wind speeds of 85 mph.
• And another tornado that hit River Oaks and northwest Fort Worth in Tarrant County, has been categorized as EF1 with 100 mph winds.
• A tornado in rural Bell County, southwest of Waco, was confirmed and given a preliminary rating of EF1.
• In the Era/Gainesville area, an EF1 tornado touched down with wind speeds of 105 mph.
• And a tornado in Carrollton, just north of Dallas, was rated an EFO with 85 mph winds.
The NWS office in Austin said it would be surveying heavily damaged areas in its coverage area in the coming days.
Officials have confirmed two tornadoes touched down in Mississippi Tuesday afternoon. After a 3:06 p.m. CT radar confirmation of a tornado in the city of West Point, Mississippi, a follow-up tornado was reported roughly 100 miles south. At 4:16 p.m CT, a meteorologist with Mississippi station WTOK-TV confirmed a tornado via radar in Lauderdale County, moving northeast at 45 mph.
Video captured from a resident inside Lauderdale County shows storms pounding rain into the area alongside the sound of blustering winds and thunder. According to the National Weather Service in Jackson, several storm reports indicate that likely tornadoes touched down in Mississippi locations. In West Point, trees were reported down and utility poles were snapped. Holmes Community College in Goodman had a roof ripped off, with no injuries reported. Mobile home damages were found in the town of Edwards and the city of Damascus.
AccuWeather National Reporter Bill Wadell reports from one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in Texas - Round Rock, just north of Austin. In Round Rock, the houses look like matchsticks thrown everywhere and the power is still out as many repairs are just getting started. New drone video shows the path of destruction in the neighborhood that the twister left behind. It was one of seven tornadoes confirmed in the state.
Nancy Smith’s house was among the hardest hit in Round Rock. The tornado tore apart the roof to the second floor of her home clear off. Smith shared with AccuWeather that her son and grandson were on the second floor and couldn’t get downstairs fast enough when the twister struck, but thankfully, they are both okay. Jeffery Robinson, who lives just a few blocks away from Nancy Smith, told AccuWeather he saw the tornado from his garage and he took shelter in his bathroom closet, but his neighbors house right across the street took a direct hit. Robinson said a woman was stuck in the house that took a direct help and had to be helped to safety. Efforts are still underway in Round Rock as cleanup continues.
A tornado ripped apart the second floor of Nancy Smith's house in Round Rock, Texas, on March 21, 2022. Families have been busy trying to salvage clothes and keepsakes from hundreds of homes that were damaged. (AccuWeather)
Businesses and residential areas alike are preparing for severe weather Tuesday in Alabama, as well as one of the state’s top universities. The University of Alabama suspended normal operations through 5 a.m. Wednesday, in an update to students and faculty via the university’s Facebook page. The Tuscaloosa-based campus storm shelters opened once tornado watches were issued. Eight different shelters are located throughout campus, including the Hewson Hall Storm Shelter on the west side of campus. The university reminded the public to “take shelter immediately” if a tornado warning is announced for the area, and to “continue to stay weather aware” throughout the storms.
An intense line of severe storms was moving east across central Alabama where a tornado watch remained in effect for at least the western half of the state, including along the Interstate 65 corridor, Tuesday evening.
The National Weather Service said the storms were expected to hit the Birmingham area after 7 p.m. CT. The tornado watches are in effect until 11 p.m. CT for Alabama. Watches remaining in Louisiana and Mississippi were due to expire around 7 p.m. CT.
One of Mississippi’s top learning institutions has been slammed by severe storms Tuesday afternoon. Mississippi State University in Starkville has seen storm damage during the 3 p.m. CDT hour Tuesday, according to campus police. The police department’s Twitter account posted a photo of a fallen tree, along with reports of downed power lines. One report from a Mississippi State student shows the storm moving over the south side of campus, while another report from WTVA 9 News in Tupelo shows damage to parked cars outside of the campus’ Chapel of Memories.
At 3:06 p.m. CDT, meteorologist Johnny Parker radar confirmed a tornado northeast of the campus in the city of West Point, which had a 2020 population of 10,209 according to census estimates.
A number of schools across southeastern Louisiana parishes, including New Orleans, have announced that classes will be held virtually in response to the severe weather, WDSU News reported. In addition, schools in Pearl River Count, Tangipahoa Parish, St. Charles Parish and New Orleans implemented early release. Most school districts also canceled after school activities and events as well. While most of southeastern Louisiana is outside of the moderate risk area of the severe weather, a large portion of the area was still under an enhanced or slight risk on Tuesday.
As the week’s vicious storms move eastward Tuesday, nearly 100,000 residents of afflicted states are fighting through power outages caused by the devastation. According to PowerOutage.US, there were around 95,000 customers without power reported at 3 p.m. CDT in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. Louisiana’s numbers, showing 24,922 without power at that time, have decreased some after peaking above 30,000 earlier Tuesday afternoon. Other state totals include Texas, with 41,742 customers without power, Mississippi with 19,358 outages and Arkansas with 8,114 outages.
At least one fatality and over a dozen injuries are being blamed on the tornadoes and severe thunderstorms that blitzed across Texas on Monday and Monday night. According to The Associated Press, a 73-year-old woman died in a storm that hit Sherwood Shores, Texas, which is located north of Dallas. This is the first fatality reported amid a severe weather outbreak that has shifted its focus on Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. At least 10 of the injuries reported across the state were out of Grayson County, located around 60 miles north of Dallas, the county’s emergency management office said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration on Tuesday for 16 different counties following multiple rounds of severe weather. Large hail, heavy rain, damaging winds and multiple tornadoes created widespread damage in Bastrop, Cass, Cooke, Grayson, Guadalupe, Houston, Jack, Madison, Marion, Montague, Nacogdoches, Panola, Rusk, Upshur, Williamson, and Wise counties. The disaster declaration passed by Abbott will allow for the use of available resources from the state government to cope with the damages from the severe weather. Abbott is set to visit Jacksboro and Crockett, Texas, Tuesday after tornadoes resulted in significant damage in both towns.
A line of thunderstorms is sweeping across the Gulf Coast states with frequent lightning, gusty winds and isolated tornadoes. Around 1:45 p.m. CDT Tuesday, the line stretched across central Mississippi and through Louisiana with strong storms embedded in the line spinning up tornadoes. One of these tornadoes tracked just north of Jackson, Mississippi, around midday as the line moved through the city. A new tornado watch was recently issued for the western half of Alabama with the line of storms set to cross into the state later Tuesday.
A storm chaser’s footage from Monday’s severe weather has gone viral, but it’s not just because of the twister in the video. As power lines flashed and debris flew all over the place as the tornado rampaged toward a highway near Elgin, Texas, Brian Emfinger’s video of the tornado showed a red Chevy Silverado pickup truck getting blown over. But as Emfinger drove closer, the winds miraculously flipped the truck back upright, allowing it to drive straight through the tornado's funnel and down the highway. “I CANNOT believe they drove away like that,” Emfinger tweeted. Emfinger was later able to catch up to the truck driver, which turned out to be a teenage boy he estimated to be around 16 or 17 years old. The boy reportedly suffered only a minor injury.
Residents from Mississippi through Georgia are preparing for damaging thunderstorms almost exactly one year after a pair of deadly tornado outbreaks swept across the region. The first round of tornadoes hit on March 17, 2021, followed by a more powerful wave of storms and twisters on March 25, 2021. At least six fatalities were blamed on the second round of severe weather, which spawned a long-tracking EF3 tornado south of Birmingham, Alabama, and an EF4 that hit near Newnan, Georgia, located southwest of Atlanta. The same areas that faced the back-to-back outbreaks last March could face similar storms through Tuesday night.
As the severe weather threat looms over Mississippi on Tuesday, the Forrest County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Executive Director, Glen Moore, sat down with AccuWeather National Reporter Jillian Angeline to discuss some of the ways the county prepares and plans for severe weather events. The city of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, which is about 85 miles southeast of Mississippi’s capital, Jackson, is no stranger to severe weather. In 2017 an EF3 tornado ripped through the city and in 2013 a destructive EF4 tornado tore through the city. The heavily forested area of Forrest County puts the population, much of which live in mobile homes or homes without basements, at a greater risk. Moore noted that shelters would be opened for the public.
“We’re fortunate that we have a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) 361 shelter here. There is one in Jones County, which is just North of [Forrest County] and one in Lamar County, which is to our west,” Moore said. “We got together [Monday] and decided to open [the shelters] at 10 a.m. Tuesday to give people plenty of time to get to the shelter before the threat of severe weather arrives.”
FEMA 361, also known as FEMA P-361, was developed back in 2000 to help with standardizing designs for storm shelters and tornado safe rooms and is now the basis of almost all safe room storm shelter standards and building codes.“The main thing is we’re trying to get people to be weather conscious,” said Moore. “We’re just asking people to pay attention and to stay safe.”
When a tornado is forming or has been confirmed on the ground, the National Weather Service issues a tornado warning to alert those in the path of the storm to seek shelter from the life-threatening weather situation. But when a large, confirmed tornado is tracking toward a highly-populated area, a tornado warning can be upgraded to a rare tornado emergency.
This weather alert is issued only a few times every year and is reserved for the most extreme scenarios when there is a high likelihood of multiple fatalities. With major cities such as Jackson, Mississippi, and New Orleans under a tornado watch through Thursday afternoon, the first tornado emergency of 2022 could be issued today. The most recent tornado emergency was on Dec. 10, 2021, when a violent EF4 tornado ripped across Kentucky, leading to dozens of fatalities.
Louisiana has been one of the hardest-hit states during the past two Atlantic hurricane seasons as major hurricanes Laura and Ida have each slammed the state as Category 4 storms and left widespread damage behind. The storms, in addition to several others such as Hurricanes Delta and Zeta in 2020, have forced many to reside in temporary housing provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Many of the homes are mobile homes or recreational vehicles trailers, according to The Associated Press. With a dangerous severe weather outbreak expected in the state, officials are urging residents to prepare, especially if they are living in vulnerable housing units such as mobile homes. More than 8,000 residents are still living in temporary housing in Louisiana as a result of the hurricanes, the AP reported.
The National Weather Service has issued a new tornado watch for Louisiana and Mississippi as the risk of tornado-producing thunderstorms increases. The new watch includes New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Jackson, Hattiesburg and Gulfport, Mississippi. A tornado watch means that the conditions are coming together for twisters to spin up. A tornado warning means that a tornado is imminent or already on the ground and that people in the path of the storm should seek shelter immediately.
Communities across eastern Texas are waking up and finally getting a good look at all of the damage caused by the storms and tornadoes that ripped across the state on Monday afternoon and Monday night. On Tuesday morning, AccuWeather National Reporter Bill Wadell was in Round Rock, Texas, located just north of Austin, where multiple homes were destroyed during the storms. One woman is now safe after the house that she was in collapsed as a tornado-warned storm moved through. Another nearby resident told Wadell that he saw the tornado and took shelter in a bathroom closet with just seconds to spare before the tornado hit the house, a move that might have saved his life.
A multi-day severe weather outbreak continues to wreak havoc across the South. AccuWeather Chief Broadcast Meteorologist Bernie Rayno and Senior Broadcast Meteorologist Justin Povick recap some of the most damaging weather so far on the latest episode of AccuWeather’s Weather Insider podcast. Rayno and Povick also discuss the ongoing storms and where they could cause serious impacts throughout Tuesday and into Wednesday. Give the latest episode a listen below.
On Tuesday morning, AccuWeather radar showed the strongest storms moving out of Texas and into Louisiana. While the rain stretched from Houston to Columbus, Ohio, the heaviest of the rain was located near the Texas-Louisiana border. The line of rain and storms will continue to move north northeast throughout the morning. A flood watch was issued for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee ahead of the heavy rain. Within this area, localized areas, primarily close to rivers, flood warnings were issued. Also, a tornado watch was issued for a large majority of Louisiana on Tuesday ahead of the strong storms.
Amarillo, Texas, had the unique distinction on Monday of being under both a severe thunderstorm warning and a blizzard warning -- all on the same day. Amarillo is situated in the middle of the Texas panhandle, about 300 miles east of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the weather served up a little bit of everything there on the first full day of spring. When spring arrived on Sunday, the temperature in Amarillo topped out at 77. On Monday, the mercury hit 66 before the stormy weather moved in, bringing thunderstorms and then snowfall as the temperature plunged to the freezing mark. The changeover from heavy rain to snow was abrupt and showed up on the radar tool on the AccuWeather mobile app. Watch it below. By Tuesday morning, the weather had largely calmed down there, but it was cold. As of 8:30 a.m. local time, the temperature was at 32 degrees and the AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperature was 20. The average high this time of year in Amarillo is 65 and the average low is 35.
This radar image from the AccuWeather mobile app shows the moment on Monday evening that precipitation falling on Amarillo, Texas, abruptly turned from all rain to all snow. Amarillo was under both a severe thunderstorm warning and a blizzard warning on Monday, March 21, 2022.
As severe storms continue to wreak havoc throughout parts of the South, Texas is dealing with thousands of power outages. The Lone Star State had 61,537 tracked power outages at 8:30 a.m. CDT according to PowerOutage.US. On the Texas-Oklahoma border, nearly half (48.31%) of customers tracked in Lipscomb County were without power. In Houston County, just over 40% of customers tracked were without power on Tuesday morning. Houston County is home to Lovelady, which had reports of a confirmed tornado and significant debris on Monday evening.
AccuWeather National Reporter Bill Wadell spoke with a survivor of Monday’s tornado that ripped through Round Rock, Texas. Wadell interviewed Liz Creason, who told Wadell that she had been traveling and living out of a camper van the past several weeks. Creason said she knew there was the danger of severe weather on Monday and wanted to find a place to stop where she could shelter quickly because she didn't want to be in the van when the storms struck. And it’s a good thing she did. As she was waiting out the storms at a shopping center in the area, the tornado began racing toward her. Creason and several others sprinted as fast as possible to safety inside a nearby Walmart. While Creason was unharmed, her van was flipped over by the storm’s powerful winds.
“I’m just so thankful to be alive and that I had the foresight to have the stuff ready because if my jacket and shoes weren’t right there, I just kind of stumbled putting them on and that delayed me but if I had to go digging for a jacket or something and another second went by I don’t know what would have happened,” she told Wadell. Watch her interview with Wadell below.
AccuWeather's Bill Wadell spoke live on March 21 with a woman who sprinted inside a Walmart just before a tornado swept through the area, picking her camper van up and knocking it on its side.
The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has issued 66 tornado warnings across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana since Monday afternoon. One supercell, or strong thunderstorm, was continuously warned for a tornado from just east of San Antonio, Texas, to just west of Shreveport, Louisiana. This tornado-warned storm was consecutively warned for 7 hours and 27 minutes as it traveled northeast for 325 miles. According to KSAT, a local news outlet, a tornado created significant damage in Kingsbury and Luling, Texas, which are both just northeast of San Antonio. A different tornado-warned storm resulted in significant damage around the Austin area, including Round Rock, Texas, according to a local news outlet, KVUE. As severe weather continues, more tornado warnings will increase this count on Tuesday.
Moisture from the Gulf of Mexico surging across the southern U.S. is one of the key ingredients in this week’s severe weather threat, but it could also lead to an additional danger. The influx of moisture will fuel heavy downpours with the thunderstorms that develop, and with thunderstorms that produce tornadoes, the downpours could act as a veil making it extremely difficult to see the twister. When heavy rain blocks out the view of a tornado, meteorologists call it a “rain-wrapped tornado.” This type of twister can be extremely dangerous. Even the most experienced storm chasers can have difficulty determining where the tornado is, how big it is and where exactly it is heading. Rain-wrapped tornadoes are another reason people should seek shelter when a tornado warning is issued, even if they cannot see the tornado from their location.
Severe thunderstorms have been pummeling the South Central region since Monday, and Tuesday won't bring much relief to places that have already been smacked by these storms such as eastern Texas, southern Arkansas and western Louisiana.
In addition to these areas, Mississippi, Alabama, western Georgia and the Florida Panhandle are also expected to experience severe weather through Tuesday night. All facets of severe weather are yet again on the table from flash flooding and hail to tornadoes and damaging wind gusts with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 90 mph. The highest risk for severe weather is anticipated to center around Louisiana and Mississippi for this time period.
Officials confirmed one fatality and several injuries in Sherwood Shores, Texas, located north of Dallas, after a tornado ripped across the area and damaged homes and power lines. To the south between Cooper and Crockett, Texas, three people were severely injured when two mobile homes were destroyed and roads blocked by fallen trees. Several injuries also occurred in the Round Rock, Texas, area where the National Weather Service (NWS) radar was likely damaged by a tornado.
Over half of all flood-related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into dangerous floodwaters, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you come across a flooded roadway, it is important to Turn Around, Don’t Drown! ® Just one foot of moving water is enough to sweep away your vehicle. While you should avoid driving into flooded roadways, if you happen to find yourself trapped in your car in fasting moving water the most important thing to remember to do is to stay calm. According to Car.com, here are a few other things to remember:
Turn on your headlights and hazard lights to make it easier for emergency personnel to locate you.
Unbuckle your seat belt and unlock your doors.
Take your jacket and outer clothing off.
If you can open your windows, do so slowly, climb out, move to higher ground and call 911.
If you can’t open your windows, you’ll have to open your doors. To do so, you must first equalize the water pressure inside your car to match the outside. This will require water to enter the car and fill up to about neck level. Once the doors are open, swim safely to land and call 911.
Severe thunderstorms wrought havoc across Texas on Monday as images of the devastation flooded in. Several homes had entire top stories ripped off the foundation in Round Rock, Texas, as debris lay atop cars parked in driveways, garage doors scrunched up like tin foil and brick walls lying on their side. A few dogs sat in kennels in the back of a van, rescued from the destruction. At least three injuries have been reported across the area. An explosion also occurred in Crockett, Texas.
Meanwhile, on the opposite side of Dallas, at least one fatality has been reported as of early Tuesday morning, with seven hospitalized.
Gusty winds associated with the severe thunderstorms in Texas rivaled reports from across the West on Monday evening as Harlingen, Texas, reported a gust to 66 mph and Edinburg, Texas, close behind with 65 mph. These dangerous winds have caused home and tree damage between Kingsbury and Luling, Texas, as well, with power lines down on U.S. 290 near Elgin, Texas. At least one injury was reported in Gilmer, Texas, after high winds caused damage to at least one house. Emergency responders reported that they were not able to access the tornado-damaged residence due to large trees blocking Highway 154.
Power lines have been falling all evening, drastically hiking the number of power outages across Texas to over 60,000 as of late Monday night according to PowerOutage.us. The highest percentages of power outages are occurring in the counties of Houston and Madison, as well as to the northwest in Jack County.
Destructive thunderstorms are rolling through Texas on Monday night, bringing hail, damaging winds and several reports of tornadoes. The National Weather Service (NWS) office of Houston tweeted "Take cover now Madisonville!" at 9:42 p.m., warning residents of the incoming tornado on the ground. Most of the town was reported to be without power after the large tornado caused damage to the town. Over 40,000 are out of power across the state of Texas as of Monday night, according to PowerOutage.us.
Earlier in the evening, storm chasers and spotters reported tornadoes across the Texas counties of Burleson, Lee, Bastrop, Williamson and Caldwell. Tornadoes caused damage to a home on Highway 80 and a resort near Round Rock, Texas.
At least one tornado also struck parts of Oklahoma, and left a general store flattened in Kingston, several manufactured homes damaged in Emet and major damage to homes in Fillmore and Wapanucka, according to the NWS, leaving over 10,000 without power.
With the destruction of tornadoes and storms barreling down on Texas Monday evening, Texans are taking on an onslaught of power outages in the storms.
The state had 70,515 tracked power outages at 7:27 CDT, per the PowerOutage.US website which tracks over 12 million Texas customers. The two hardest-hit counties per capita appear in the northern sector of the state, Texas-Oklahoma border county Montague (2,237 outages out of 12,502 tracked customers) and its southern neighbor Jack County (814 outages out of 3,937 tracked customers). Jack County is home to Jacksboro, which was devastated with a tornado earlier on Monday, causing destruction to local schools among other buildings.
Per KXAN News in Austin, over 27,000 customers of Oncor Electric were without power in the greater Austin area as of 7:21 CDT. This includes 17,900 customers in Williamson County, 5,800 in Travis County and 3,900 in Bastrop County.
The ferocious tornado that tore through the Round Rock, Texas, region earlier in the evening has left large-scale destruction in its wake.
An update from the Round Rock Police Department states that officers are currently assessing the tornado’s damage, with reports of structural damage to multiple homes and businesses. One business almost completely wiped out is the Bank of America building on IH 35 Frontage Road in Round Rock, which happened as the tornado ripped apart buildings and neighboring trees.
The Round Rock PD reminded residents to stay off of local roads, as well as to seek shelter during the remainder of the storms. Severe storms will continue to hit Texas through Monday night before moving eastward Tuesday.
At around 3:55 p.m. CDT, local Austin NBC station KXAN captured a tornado crossing Interstate 35. The tornado could be seen barreling across the interstate in Round Rock, Texas, as the news station captured the scene. About one minute before the tornado crossed the interstate, a Texas Department of Transportation camera located in Round Rock captured multiple vehicles traveling where the tornado would very soon cross. Damage was reported just off the side of Interstate 35 in Round Rock by CBS Austin.
Monday’s tornado outbreak has caused extensive damage to several Texas regions, and now Oklahoma is feeling the severe weather event’s wrath.
The town of Kingston, Oklahoma, was hit with a quarter-mile wide tornado at approximately 6:30 p.m. CDT. KFOR-TV in Oklahoma City reported that damage is “fairly extensive,” with a damage path almost 400 meters wide created. Another report by KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City states that the tornado touching down on the east side of Kingston has potentially caused residents to become trapped in several damaged structures. In response, The National Weather Service in Norman, Oklahoma, has issued a tornado warning for several southeastern Oklahoma counties.
A bevy of tornadoes continue to touch down throughout Texas, creating life-threatening situations for millions of the state’s residents.
Per the National Weather Service, a confirmed “large and extremely dangerous” tornado was located over Granger, Texas, at 6:25 CDT. The tornado, spotted 30 miles northeast of Round Rock, is reportedly moving northeast at 40 miles per hour. The NWS states this is a “particularly dangerous situation” and that residents should take cover immediately. A tornado warning has been put into effect for the central Texas counties of Milam and Bell until 7:15 p.m. CDT.
In Round Rock, a previously confirmed tornado at 5:57 CDT has created a debris field, including bark shredded from local trees. A report from Spectrum News states that four different tornadoes have recently touched down in the Round Rock and Austin area.
As severe weather begins to descend on Texas, one major highway in the state has been hit by a vicious tornado.
A tornado has been confirmed on the ground along I-35, a highway that encompasses major Texas cities such as the Dallas-Fort Worth area, as well as Waco, Austin and San Antonio. Per reports, the tornado has been confirmed at I-35 and the State Highway 45 flyovers in Round Rock at 5:57 CDT, with the Williamson County Office of Emergency Management telling residents to seek shelter immediately. KXAN Weather, based out of Austin, captured a video of the Round Rock tornado touching ground.
Per the National Weather Service, a tornado watch has been put into effect until 10 p.m. CDT for most areas along I-35 and in central Texas.
The confirmed tornado in Jacksboro, Texas, has left a wake of destruction, but those in one key city location have been reported to have no injuries.
Tornado damage at Jacksboro Elementary School was reported by Dallas-Fort Worth CBS 11, with a photo showing the tornado's destruction across one of the school’s rooms. Emergency crews told another Dallas-Fort Worth area station, WFAA, that no children were injured during the event, as both children and staff were in shelters at the time of the tornado. WFAA also reports that the tornado struck Jacksboro High School, with the principal of the school stating there were no injuries. The tornado was confirmed on the ground in Jacksboro at 3:41 p.m. CDT.
The violent thunderstorms pegged for the southern Plains Monday have already begun in Oklahoma. In Norman, at the campus of the University of Oklahoma, a video shows heavy rain descending on the campus’ Jenkins Avenue. Flooding created by the storm has stalled cars on the road, with police blocking off the area from traffic.
Oklahoma was one of several states at risk for severe thunderstorms into Monday night, along with large parts of Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Per the National Weather Service, parts of southern Oklahoma are currently under a severe thunderstorm watch until 9 p.m. CDT, including the cities of Lawton, about 195 miles northwest of Dallas, and Ardmore, which is about 125 miles north of Dallas.
The first full day of spring is coming in like a lion for parts of Texas and Oklahoma as the states deal with a blizzard warning and a tornado watch at the same time. A blizzard warning was effect for portions of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles on Monday night -- at the same time tornado watches were in effect in northern and central Texas. A severe thunderstorm watch for the southern panhandle borders the blizzard warning in the central and northern panhandle. Amarillo on Monday had the distinction of being both under a severe thunderstorm warning for the late afternoon and a blizzard warning for the evening hours all in one day. "Classic March," as AccuWeather Broadcast Meteorologist Geoff Cornish put it. Temperatures are also drastically different across the state amid the storm system moving through. Dalhart, Texas, located in the Northwest part of the state, was at 36 degrees as of 4 p.m. local time. Meanwhile, San Antonio was at 90 degrees during the same time.
A confirmed tornado 60 miles northwest of Fort Worth has brought major damage to one Texas community. In the city of Jacksboro, Texas, a tornado was confirmed on the ground at 3:41 p.m. CDT, with major structural damage reported by first responders in the area. Local firefighters have reported damage in the area of Highway 380 and FM4 west of Jacksboro, as well as damage to mobile homes and trees 5 miles southwest of the city.
Other reports from Jacksboro claim heavy debris and a local home roof collapse from the tornado. A local animal shelter has been hit, as well as a hospital in Jacksboro’s county of Jack County. Jacksboro High School has also taken a direct hit from the tornado, with Jacksboro Fire Department reporting extensive damage.
AccuWeather radar imagery of Jacksboro, Texas, on March 21, 2022.
The ingredients for damaging thunderstorms and tornadoes are coming together across the southern Plains. The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for part of Texas, including Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and College Station, Texas. The new watch is in addition to a severe thunderstorm watch that was issued earlier this afternoon. A tornado watch means that the conditions are present for twisters to develop, while a tornado warning means that a destructive tornado is imminent or already happening. The tornado watch is in effect through 10 p.m. CDT with additional tornado watches possible through Monday night.
While the threat of damaging storms and tornadoes is the primary concern with the major system over the Plains, snow is accumulating in Colorado on the system’s backside. Due to safety concerns, officials have closed Interstate 70 from Limon, Colorado, to the Kansas border. Traffic cameras along the highway showed a snow-packed road and reduced visibility early Monday afternoon along the closed stretch of highway. It is unclear when the interstate will be reopened.
Part of Interstate 70 was closed in eastern Coloado on Monday due to safety concerns amid heavy, blowing snow. (Colorado DOT)
The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has upgraded its outlook for Monday’s severe weather to a “moderate” level. Out of the five severe weather outlooks the SPC issues, the moderate risk is a level four, which means long-lived severe storms are likely within the newly defined area. Damaging winds, flooding downpours, very large hail and several tornadoes are expected Monday afternoon into Monday evening from eastern Texas to western Louisiana. Austin, College Station, Bryan and Temple, Texas, are all located within the “moderate” risk area. Residents should have a plan in place for when storms arrive and have their phones charged in the event that the storm creates widespread power outages.
Millions of people across the southern United States are preparing for a stormy afternoon with a multi-day severe weather event about to kick off in Texas. Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer is in Grapevine, Texas, located just north of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, and is ready to chase the storms that develop later today. “It does appear like the greatest threat for long-tracked, strong to violent tornadoes is across central Texas,” Timmer said, citing that Dallas is included in this area. “Those storms are going to develop at about 3-4 p.m.,” Timmer added. Watch the video below for Timmer’s complete analysis of the severe weather setup:
The GOES-EAST weather satellite took a picture of the southern Plains around midday Monday as the potent system that is the driving force behind this week’s severe weather threat was gaining strength. If the widespread cloud cover across Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana holds through the afternoon, the clouds could limit the daytime heating from the sun and reduce the intensity of the storms through Monday evening. However, if there are breaks in the clouds, the strong March sun can energize the atmosphere, setting the stage for dangerous thunderstorms.
This satellite image, taken around midday Monday, shows widespread clouds in the area where severe weather is predicted through Monday night. (NOAA/GOES-EAST)
After thunderstorms develop over Texas on Monday, they may continue to plow across the southern U.S. through Wednesday, not letting up after the sun has set. Overnight thunderstorms, particularly overnight tornadoes, can be more dangerous than storms and twisters that happen in daylight. “Nocturnal storm events often come as more of a surprise to people simply because they may not be as in touch with the environment around them as they are during the day, or they may be asleep,” Emergency Preparedness Specialist Becky DePodwin said. “That’s why it’s so important to ensure you will be awakened up by weather warnings issued for your location and to know the appropriate action when a warning is issued.”
Residents across the southern U.S. should have a plan in place before going to bed, including a safe place in their house to take shelter when a storm is approaching. One of the easiest ways to receive emergency weather notifications, including tornado warnings, is to download the free AccuWeather app on a smartphone.
Although southern Mississippi has had its share of tornadoes over the years, the most notable tornadoes in the last 10 years touched down in April 2020. Two EF4 and one EF3 twisters tore a path through the southern part of the state on April 12 of that year, as part of the Easter tornado outbreak that dropped 140 tornadoes on 10 states, killing 32 people as part of a record month. On April 19, another EF4 tornado traveled almost 50 miles southwest of Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Two EF3 tornadoes hit near Monroe, Louisiana, during the Easter outbreak in 2020, but the state of Louisiana hasn't seen an EF4 tornado within its borders since Nov. 29, 2010.
Heavy rain accompanying this week’s severe weather in the southern U.S. will bring the risk of flash flooding, including some areas that will avoid the worst of the damaging storms. “While the severe weather threat will understandably receive extra attention, I want to stress that the biggest impact from this storm may come from the flooding risk because repeated bouts of heavy rainfall can occur over the same areas,” AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter said. Areas from Dallas through Nashville could pick up 2-4 inches of rain with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 8 inches. Typically in all of March, the two cities measure 3.30 inches and 4.52 inches of rain, respectively.
Millions of people from Texas through the Carolinas are on alert for an early-week severe weather outbreak, an event that AccuWeather has been warning about since last week. Thunderstorms will begin to erupt over Texas on Monday afternoon, including Dallas, Houston and Austin, with intense winds, large hail and isolated tornadoes possible. However, the worst part of the outbreak is not expected until Tuesday when the storms shift eastward.
Significant, long-tracked tornadoes will be possible on Tuesday in addition to hail, flash flooding and destructive winds with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 90 mph. New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Jackson and Hattiesburg, Mississippi; and Tuscaloosa, Alabama; are all located in the zone where the most intense storms and tornadoes are likely Tuesday into Tuesday night. “Darkness will only make things harder to spot when combined with the fast storm motion and the widespread storm coverage,” AccuWeather Lead Storm Warning Meteorologist Mike Youman said. People that live in this area should have a plan in place for when storms arrive and have their phones charged in the event that the storms create widespread power outages.
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