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At least 5 dead after 3-day severe weather outbreak slams southern, eastern US

By Adriana Navarro, AccuWeather staff writer
By Amanda Schmidt, AccuWeather staff writer
April 21, 2019, 2:55:54 AM EDT


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 storms. 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 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.

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

A friend of the owner reviews the remains of a storm damaged house in Morton, Miss., Friday, April 19, 2019, following a possible tornado touchdown Thursday afternoon.

(Twitter/Dan Crawley)

A tree uprooted during severe storms in Ashford, North Carolina, on Friday afternoon.

(Twitter/Duke Grounds Crew)

A possible tornado that was spotted near Hillsborough, North Carolina, on Friday afternoon. Debris was also reported at the time this photo was taken.

(Twitter/James Hathorn)

Possible tornado damage in Hillsborough, North Carolina.

(Twitter/James Hathorn)

A structure was severe damaged by a possible tornado in HIllsborough, North Carolina.

(Photo/ SCHP Tripper Tyler)

Travel along Interstate 26 in Orangeburg County, South Carolina, was disrupted on Friday afternoon after severe storms blew trees and debris across the road.

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Ripped tree branches litter a Learned, Miss., home, following severe weather that hit the small community, Thursday, April 18, 2019. Several homes were damaged by downed trees.

(AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Sonya Banes looks at damage caused by a large oak tree that crashed through the ceiling of her mother's house in Learned, Miss., Thursday, April 18, 2019.

(Twitter/Anna Sanders)

A tin roof that blew over and landed on a house and car in Dancy, Alabama.

(Twitter/Bryce Jones)

A large tree blocking traffic on a highway near Macon, Mississippi.

(Twitter/Alex Forbes)

Storm damage in Starkville, Mississippi, after severe storms blew through the region.

(Twitter/@full_of_whit)

Flooding in eastern Tennessee after drenching thunderstorms soaked the region.

(Twitter/@Manning_22)

Cars lie overturned in a Walmart parking lot in Clinton, Mississippi, after a confirmed tornado passed through the city.

(Photo/Chelsea Oswalt)

A downed tree in Pearl, Mississippi, following severe storms.

(Photo/Starkville Police Department)

Flooding in Starkville, Mississippi, on Thursday evening.

(Twitter photo/@BentonPoliceAR)

The Benton Police Department tweeted a view of the flooded intersection at Edison Ave. and Highway 35 on the morning of April 18, 2019.

(Twitter photo/@TylerSorrells2)

Lightning illuminates an otherwise dark sky during the early morning hours of April 18, 2019, in Conway, Arkansas.

(Twitter photo/@michaeldean0116)

While it might appear that this image was taken during the day, Michael Dean Shelton captured it on April 18 at 3:46 a.m., local time, in Little Rock, Arkansas.

(Instagram photo/@vgo33me_atx)

A ball of lightning "exploded" and crackled in the sky over Cedar Park, Texas, early in the morning on April 18.

(Instagram photo/@stormguy8)

Brandon Munson captured this image of an overnight thunderstorm over Branson, Missouri, on April 18.

(Twitter photo/@TylerSorrells2)

Lightning illuminates an otherwise dark sky during the early morning hours of April 18, 2019, in Conway, Arkansas.

(Twitter/ Louisiana State Police)

Louisiana troopers have responded to numerous weather-related crashes across the state due to inclement weather.

@BeckyNew2

The storms that swept through Alabama on Thursday, April 18, 2019 caused tree damage at a chicken farm in Delta, Alabama. (Twitter / @BeckyNew2)

@BeckyNew2

The storms that swept through Alabama on Thursday, April 18, 2019 caused property damage to a chicken farm in Delta, Alabama. (Twitter / @BeckyNew2)

@BeckyNew2

The storms that swept through Alabama on Thursday, April 18, 2019 caused property damage to a chicken farm in Delta, Alabama. (Twitter / @BeckyNew2)

@BeckyNew2

The storms that swept through Alabama on Thursday, April 18, 2019 caused property damage to a chicken farm in Delta, Alabama. (Twitter / @BeckyNew2)

(Twitter photo/@LFMWx)

Accumulating hail accompanied by fog was seen on highway 273 south of McLean, Texas. Hail ranged mostly from as small as a pea to as big as a quarter.

(Twitter photo/@LFMWx)

Accumulating hail accompanied by fog was seen on highway 273 south of McLean, Texas.

(Twitter photo/@Reed Timmer)

AccuWeather Extreme Meteorologist Reed Timmer spotted a rotation north of Sunset, Texas.

(Photo/NOAA)

This NOAA satellite image shows the southern Plains on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at around 3:30 p.m. local time.

(Twitter photo/@SherriVancampen)

A Texas resident tries to protect their car from hail.

(Twitter photo/@SherriVancampen)

A Texas resident tries to protect their car from hail.

(Photo/Nora Jones)

Nora Jones tries to protect her car from hail in San Antonio, Texas.

@NWSJacksonMS

Storm survey teams assess the damage from possible tornadoes in Morton, Mississippi on Friday, April 19, 2019. (Twitter / @NWSJacksonMS)


There have been widespread power outages as the storms blasted 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.

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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.

FE 15C.jpg


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.

Among Friday's tornadoes, the one that significantly damaged structures in Franklin County, Virginia, was classified as an EF-3.

Download the free AccuWeather app to get severe weather alerts sent directly to your phone. Keep checking back for updates on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.

Additional reporting by Ashley Williams, Brian Lada, Faith Eherts and Reed Timmer.

Scroll down to see the storm reports from late Thursday through Friday.


9:18 p.m. EDT Friday:

A severe thunderstorm capable of spinning up a tornado is just north of Washington, D.C. and is tracking to the northeast. People in the area should seek shelter until the storm has passed.


8:20 p.m. EDT Friday:

Severe thunderstorms have advanced northward with storm damage being reported near Lewistown, Pennsylvania. Strong thunderstorms are also approaching Washington, D.C., from the southwest and should arrive within the hour.

In addition to the severe thunderstorms, heavy, persistent downpours lead to flash flooding in western North Carolina, western South Carolina and northern Georgia. Over a dozen water gauges are in at least minor flood stage across the area, according to the National Weather Service. Some towns, such as Brevard, North Carolina, received more than double their typical April rainfall in less than 36 hours.

FE 15L.jpg



6:20 p.m. EDT Friday:

The number of power outages have surged across the southeastern U.S. this evening with more than 215,000 electric customers without power. These numbers may continue to climb into Friday night, particularly across Virginia and North Carolina.

6pm power outages



5:45 p.m. EDT Friday:

Emergency managers reported a roof torn off a shed in Bladen County, North Carolina, at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The NWS reported a possible tornado in the area.

The NWS estimates there has been structural damage to about 41 homes with 2 possibly destroyed in Summerton, South Carolina.


5:10 p.m. EDT Friday:

A NWS damage survey confirmed that an EF1 tornado briefly touched down in the southern end of Laurens County, Georgia, late this morning. Winds speeds are estimated to have reached 90 mph.

At this time, there are no reported fatalities or injuries reported related to this tornado.


5:00 p.m. EDT Friday:

Another child was reported injured at 2:36 p.m. EDT as a result of a tree falling on a house in Cherryville, South Carolina.

At 12:55 p.m., a fatality was reported in Fort Gordon, Georgia. The fatality was due to a traffic incident involving hydroplaning.



4:20 p.m. EDT Friday:

Highway 86 in Hillsborough, North Carolina, near I-40 sustained damage from the tornado, blocking traffic.


Florida's Orlando International Airport came to a ground stop for arriving traffic due to severe weather in the area.


4:10 p.m. EDT Friday:

There is a radar confirmed tornado in Hillsboro, North Carolina. People in the area are advised to take cover now.

The tornado is likely to track across I-40, during the Friday evening rush hour.

Locations impacted include: Durham, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, Carrboro, Rougemont, Efland, Lake Michie, Eno River State Park, Bahama and Schley.


4:00 p.m. EDT Friday:

Franklin County, Virginia, law enforcement reports that there are two more injured after a NWS confirmed tornado touched down near Smith Mountain, Virginia, close to 11 a.m. EDT.

There are also reports of numerous trees down and major damages to homes in the area.

In Savannah, Georgia, the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport clocked a 66 mph wind gust at 12:45 p.m. EDT.


3:00 p.m. EDT Friday:

On Friday morning around 8:00 a.m. EDT, the storm caused the death of an 8-year-old girl in Leon County in Florida, bringing the death total from the storm to four.

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.

The office said in a statement that the girl died at the hospital and the boy has non-life-threatening injuries. Their names have not been released.


1:20 p.m. CDT Friday:

Thousands of flights have been delayed or canceled within, into, or out of the United States today. There have been 3,929 delays and 1,082 cancellations, according to flightaware.com.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Charlotte Douglas International Airport in Charlotte, North Carolina, are experiencing the most disruptions. Both Georgia and North Carolina continue to experience severe weather warnings due to the storm threats.

Airports in Florida, Washington, D.C, Philadelphia and New York City are also experiencing delays as the storms move up the eastern U.S.


12:45 p.m. CDT Friday:

Power outages continue to spread and worsen in the southern U.S, especially in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina. Over 200,000 customers are without power in the South.

Over 90,000 customers are without power in Florida. More than 35,000 customers are without power in Georgia.

North Carolina is also experiencing an increase in power outages as the storm covers the state as nearly 23,000 customers are without power.

Numbers remain steady across Mississippi and Alabama, PowerOutage.us reports.


12:05 p.m. CDT Friday:

AccuWeather News Reporter Jonathan Petramala is covering the covering storms in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Petramala reports that roads are flooded along the beach due to tidal flooding ahead of the storms.

It is currently on drizzling in the area, but many roadways are flooded.



11:30 a.m. CDT Friday:

Wind damage and major flooding is reported in McDowell County in North Carolina.

In Ashford, strong winds have knocked down multiple trees and power lines. Officials are on the scene assessing the situation. So far, no injuries have been reported.



11:07 a.m. CDT Friday:

Due to severe weather and high winds the Skyway Bridge in Tampa, Florida, is closed to all traffic, according to Florida Highway Patrol.

Red flags are flying at coastal Alabama and northwestern Florida beaches due to dangerous conditions.



10:40 a.m. CDT Friday:

Morton, Mississippi, was struck hard by the storm on Thursday. Footage and videos posted on social media capture the extent of the damages.

Preliminary results from the storm survey team finds damage in the town consistent with that of a high-end EF-2 tornado, with maximum winds of 132 mph, according to NWS Jackson.


10:25 a.m. CDT Friday:

Severe thunderstorms are likely across much of the southern through mid-Atlantic coast region, particularly across the Carolinas into southern and central Virginia.

These storms have the potential to produce widespread damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes, according to NWS.

Severe thunderstorm and tornado watches and warnings have been issued in regions of the Carolinas and Virginia.


9:52 a.m. CDT Friday:

Wind and building damage has been reported in Sontag, Virginia, from a possible tornado.

Strong and large rotation was spotted on the radar with a tornado warning.



9:04 a.m. CDT Friday:

Conyers, Georgia, is experiencing extreme flooding as the storm moves through the region. Videos on social media show the city's parks, roadways and rivers overflowed with water. Several roads remain closed and impassable.

The city is located just east of Atlanta, which is also experiencing severe weather threats due to the storm.

The National Weather Service (NWS) Office in Atlanta has issued severe thunderstorm, tornado and flash flood watches and warnings for the area.



7:41 a.m. CDT Friday:

Power outages spread from Texas to Mississippi and Alabama into Georgia and Florida as the storm moves through on Friday.

There is an electrical outage affecting approximately 1,878 customers around Tallahassee, Florida. The City of Tallahassee reports that crews are responding to the outage.

Nearly 20,000 customers are without power throughout Florida, and more than 20,000 customers are without power in Georgia.

Widespread outages continue in Mississippi, Alabama and Texas following the storm, according to PowerOutage.us.



7:02 a.m. CDT Friday:

The storm arrives in Tallahassee, Florida, on Friday morning, bringing with strong winds, rain and other severe weather features.

A tornado watch has been extended for the Tallahassee area until 11 a.m. EDT.

Severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings are also in effect in the surrounding areas. NWS officials warn the storm may bring hail and winds up to 60 mph.



6:21 a.m. CDT Friday:

Severe weather continues to disrupt the southern United States on Friday morning. Different watches and warnings continue in several states.

A tornado warning was issued in several Georgia cities, including Statham, Bogart and Bethlehem, until 7:45 a.m. EDT.

A severe thunderstorm warning continues for cities in Georgia and Alabama.


4:30 a.m. CDT Friday:

The Florida Panhandle is bearing the brunt of the strongest storms this morning, where some coastal flooding and severe storms are occurring.

5am radar


Heavy rain is inundating portions of Alabama and Georgia farther north. In Atlanta, early morning storms have dropped over half of an inch of rain already. These rainfall rates can quickly lead to ponding on roadways, which would interfere with the morning commute.


1:10 a.m. CDT Friday:

A new tornado watch has been issued across a swath of southern Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and western Georgia through 8:00 a.m. CDT.


The death toll for this storm system has risen to three, with news of a deadly car crash in Mississippi that occurred during the stormy weather on Thursday evening.

Due to the threat for severe weather on Friday, many schools have canceled classes for the day across central Georgia.


10:10 p.m. CDT Thursday:

A second death has been attributed to these storms, this one in St. Clair County, Alabama, where a tree fell on a home.

Emergency managers continue to report widespread instances of downed trees in the wake of storms are they sweep through Alabama, leaving over 48,000 customers without power so far.


7:50 p.m. CDT Thursday:

The first fatality of this multi-day severe weather outbreak has been reported in Neshoba County, Mississippi, after a tree fell onto a vehicle, killing a person inside, according to the Neshoba Democrat.

Downed trees will disrupt travel across the region into Friday as crews frantically work to clear roads and highways of debris.


For previous storm updates: Real-time severe storm reports from April 17-18

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