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Weekly wrap-up: Multi-day tornado outbreak kills 8 in US; Deadly Winston leaves almost no part of Fiji unscarred

By By Kevin Byrne, Staff Writer
March 01, 2016, 4:14:48 AM EST

A massive severe weather outbreak spawned deadly tornadoes across the Deep South and mid-Atlantic on Tuesday and Wednesday.

At least eight people were killed as the result of tornadoes reported in Mississippi, Louisiana and Virginia. Four people were killed after tornadoes struck Waverly and Evergreen, Virginia. The tornado that struck Waverly was rated an EF1 while an EF3 tornado impacted Evergreen.

Two people died in Louisiana after a tornado barreled through a mobile home complex in the town of Convent, located about 50 miles west of New Orleans. The tornado was the ground for about 21 miles, and had a rating of EF3. Over 100 structures were destroyed and 75 people were injured.

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Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards and Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe each visited the hard-hit areas and surveyed the damage in their respective states.

One of eight fatalities included a good Samaritan who was killed by a falling tree in South Carolina, the Associated Press reported. The man had been helping to clear debris from the road. An additional fatality was reported in Mississippi near the town of Purvis.

The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center listed 37 tornado reports on Tuesday and 20 on Wednesday.

Damaging tornadoes even spread into the Northeast Wednesday night. An EF2 tornado, bringing winds speeds between 120 and 125 mph, was confirmed near White Horse, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. An estimated 50 buildings sustained damage, but there were no injuries.


Hundreds of thousands were without power during the course of the two-day outbreak. At one point during Wednesday afternoon, more than 120,000 were without power in North Carolina alone.

States of emergency were declared in Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina and Virginia as a result of the severe storms while Gov. Edwards declared a state of emergency for seven parishes in Louisiana.

While severe storms rumbled across the East, in parts of the Midwest, a snowstorm snarled travel and grounded flights. More than 2,700 flights were canceled on Wednesday with nearly a 1,000 of those coming from Chicago O'Hare International Airport.

While the airport recorded only 1.7 inches of snow, 34 miles to the southeast of Chicago over a foot of snow was measured in Cedar Lake, Indiana. Elsewhere, the Ohio Turnpike issued a travel ban for three counties due to heavy snowfall and high winds.

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The island nation of Fiji was battered by powerful Tropical Cyclone Winston last weekend and the storm caused "enormous devastation" according to the Fijian government.

Winston made landfall around 6:30 p.m. local time near Nasau on Fiji's main island of Viti Levu as a powerful Category 5 cyclone. Upon making landfall, it became the strongest cyclone on record to hit Fiji.

Before making landfall in Viti Levu, the Joint Typhoon Warning Center estimated winds of 300 km/h (185 mph) just south of Taveuni Island.

Fiji releases footage of damage caused by Cyclone Winston


The storm has forced over 50,000 people to evacuate while also causing more than 40 deaths. The Fijian government declared a 30-day State of Disaster for the country and opened over 900 evacuation shelters.

While addressing the country of the status of ongoing relief efforts, Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said almost no part of the nation was left unscarred and the maritime and rural areas of the island bore the brunt of the cyclone's fury.

"We are working around the clock to address the needs of our people and whoever you are in Fiji, wherever you are in Fiji, we are doing our best to reach you," he said.

Several AccuWeather meteorologists and staff writers contributed content to this article.

Have questions, comments, or a story to share? Email Kevin Byrne at, follow him on Twitter at @Accu_Kevin. Follow us @breakingweather, or on Facebook and Google+.

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