Tornadoes, severe storms ravaged areas from Ohio Valley through lower Mississippi Valley

By Chaffin Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
March 15, 2019, 8:17:48 AM EDT


Severe thunderstorms steadily marched across the Ohio and lower Mississippi valleys on Thursday, spreading showers and thunderstorms that produced damaging wind gusts and tornadoes.

"An unusually warm air mass ahead of a strong cold front helped lead to widespread severe thunderstorms, reaching as far north as Michigan," AccuWeather Metrorologist Brett Rathbun said.

"There was enough rotation in the atmosphere for several thunderstorms to either be tornado warned or produce tornadoes."

A tornado just missed hitting the National Weather Service forecast office in West Paducah, Kentucky, during the late-morning hours on Thursday. Tornadoes were also reported in central Alabama and at least one in central Michigan late Thursday afternoon.

(Photo/Daviess County EMA)

Storm damage near Owensboro, Kentucky, on Thursday, March 14, 2019.

(Photo/Victoria Hazelwood)

Storm damage in Springville, Alabama, on Thursday evening, March 14, 2019.

(Chris Colson via Storyful)

A tornado touched down in Paducah, Kentucky, on Thursday, March 14, knocking over trees, power lines and damaging property in parts of the town.

(Twitter photo/@BluegrassAg)

A confirmed tornado in Union County, Kentucky, on March 14, 2019.

(Twitter photo/@Lew_Jetton)

Damage has been reported in western Kentucky following a tornado near Paducah, Kentucky.

(Twitter photo/@Lew_Jetton)

Damage has been reported in western Kentucky following a tornado near Paducah, Kentucky.

(Twitter photo/@Lew_Jetton)

Damage has been reported in western Kentucky following a tornado near Paducah, Kentucky.

(Chris Colson via Storyful)

A tornado touched down in Paducah, Kentucky, on Thursday, March 14, knocking over trees, power lines and damaging property in parts of the town.

(Chris Colson via Storyful)

A tornado touched down in Paducah, Kentucky, on Thursday, March 14, knocking over trees, power lines and damaging property in parts of the town.

(Photo/Regan Brooks)

A possible tornado near Alexandria, Alabama, on Thursday evening, March 14, 2019.

(Twitter photo/@Bradmac3408)

Severe storms that hit Chicago from the southwest brought small hail, gusty winds on March 14, 2019.


Major damage occurred near the intersections of U.S. Route 62 and Highway 286 near Lovelaceville, Kentucky. A tornado is suspected as being the cause.

A large tree was pushed into a home and resulted in one person being injured.

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According to Rathbun, a return to winter weather is expected in the wake of these storms. However, dry conditions are expected.

"The upcoming weather pattern does not support any additional storm systems that could produce widespread severe weather through next week," he said.

Continue reading for a recap of severe storm news and reports.

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This reports story is no longer being updated as of 11:00 p.m. CDT Thursday.


10:40 p.m. CDT Thursday:

As severe weather comes to an end over Alabama, the area of dangerous weather is starting to make its way into western and northern Georgia.


As storms head into more populated portions of northern Atlanta tonight, residents will need to be sure to have severe weather alerts enabled on their phones with volume turned all the way up. Severe weather has proven more dangerous overnight as people are asleep and therefore unaware that dangerous storms are approaching.


8:45 p.m. CDT Thursday:

Areas just north of Montgomery, Alabama, need to be on alert for a potentially tornado-producing thunderstorm. This tornado will be difficult to see in the dark.


7:52 p.m. CDT Thursday:

There is a radar-confirmed tornado just northeast of Clanton, Alabama. The storm is tracking east and may eventually reach Stewartville. People in this area need to seek shelter until the storm has passed.

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7:45 p.m. CDT Thursday:

Over 130,000 electric customers are without power from Michigan through Alabama with those numbers potentially rising into Thursday night as severe weather continues across the region.

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7:40 p.m. CDT Thursday:

Severe thunderstorms continue to bring the risk of hail, damaging winds, flash flooding and even tornadoes across parts of the Ohio Valley and southeastern United States.

These thunderstorms could be particularly dangerous now that the sun has set since it will be difficult to see a thunderstorm as it approaches.

People across these regions should pay attention to local forecasts, and can be alerted when severe weather approaches by downloading the free AccuWeather app.


6:55 p.m. CDT Thursday:

Tornado damage has been reported by a fire department in Vernon and Lennon, Michigan, following a severe thunderstorm. It is unclear at this time if there are any injuries associated with the tornado.

Farther south, a radar-confirmed tornado continues to swirl in central Alabama. The tornado is tracking eastward and may impact areas in or near Randolph, Alabama.

Damage has been reported in Springville, Alabama, in the wake of a different tornado-warned thunderstorm.

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Storm damage in Springville, Alabama, on Thursday evening. (Photo/Victoria Hazelwood)



6:28 p.m. CDT Thursday:

A radar-confirmed tornado is headed toward Heiberger, Alabama. People in the path of this storm need to seek shelter immediately.


A tornado warning has also been issued for Ann Arbor, Michigan, which included the University of Michigan. Sirens have been heard in the area to alert people to seek shelter.


5:57 p.m. CDT Thursday:

A radar-confirmed tornado is located near Branchville, Alabama, and is tracking east toward Ragland. Those in the path of this storm need to seek shelter immediately.

The tornado-warned storm may also bring large hail and damaging winds.


5:40 p.m. CDT Thursday:

The worst of the severe weather is currently focusing on Alabama with several storms capable of spinning up tornadoes.

Storm damage has been reported in White City, Alabama, after a severe storm moved through the area, including damage to structures. It is unclear if there have been any injuries.

storm damage

A building that was damaged during severe thunderstorms in White City, Alabama. (Photo/@jshaunAU2006)


Hail and wind gusts over 50 mph have been reported around Cincinnati after two rounds of severe thunderstorms moved through the area. The heavy downpours also caused localized flooding.



4:00 p.m. CDT Thursday:

A second round of severe thunderstorms is approaching Cincinnati, Ohio.

A severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado is just southwest of Cincinnati and is tracking toward the city.

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3:30 p.m. CDT Thursday:

Severe thunderstorms are making their way into South Bend, Indiana this afternoon. There are severe thunderstorm warned cells in the area.

Keep an eye out for alerts, warnings, and watches.



3:00 p.m. CDT Thursday:

Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Paducah, Kentucky sustained major damage a tornado this morning.

Reports say there are no injuries.



1:55 p.m. CDT Thursday:

Severe storms are approaching Chicago from the southwest and may bring small hail, gusty winds and frequent lightning in the next 30 minutes.



1:45 p.m. CDT Thursday:

A state of emergency has been declared in McCracken County, Kentucky due to a tornado that ripped through the area this morning.

The McCracken County Judge Executive’s Office declared the State of Emergency for the county.

Kentucky State Police say they were notified of the tornado at 9:20 am, and responders were still at the scene as of 1:00 p.m. CST.


12:57 p.m. CDT Thursday:

There is a very dangerous supercell with strong, robust rotation heading in the direction of the Owensboro, Kentucky area as of 12:57 p.m. CST. Head to your safe place now.

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12:12 p.m. CDT Thursday:

There is a likely tornado near Glen, Mississippi moving northeast. The tornado will pass north of Burnsville, Mississippi. Take cover now!



11:00 a.m. CDT Thursday:

A tornado warned storm is approaching Evansville, Indiana. Experts advise to stay in shelter until the threat has expired.



10:55 a.m. CDT Thursday:

Damage has been reported in western Kentucky following a tornado near Paducah, Kentucky.

Severe storms will continue to push eastward throughout the day on Thursday.



10:40 a.m. CST Thursday:

There is a confirmed tornado approaching Evansville, Indiana. If you are near this area, take cover now!



10:00 a.m. CDT Thursday:

Severe weather is ramping up in Kentucky and Illinois this morning. A tornado warning was issued for Paducah, Kentucky, and Metropolis and Brookport, Illinois, until 10:15 a.m. CST.


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