ATLANTA (AP) – A severe weather system moved east through Georgia toward the Carolinas on Friday after setting off tornadoes that swirled through Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Tornadoes and isolated winds are possible through mid-afternoon Friday, according to the National Weather Service. Nearly 3,000 people in the Carolinas were already without power by early morning.
Early Friday evening, the South Carolina Highway Patrol was working some 37 traffic incidents in the Midlands including trees and other debris reported in the road.
The National Weather Service predicted hazardous weather Friday afternoon and night in the Midlands. NWS’s hazardous weather outlook stated a few storms in the afternoon and tonight could be strong to severe, the main threat coming from strong winds and hail.
NWS also warned some flooding could occur in urban areas and along small streams in the Midlands.
Some streets were flooded and roofs damaged Friday morning at Robins Air Force Base and the surrounding community in central Georgia when severe storms pounded the area.
One tornado touched down in Eldridge in central Alabama around 8 p.m. Thursday. Another hit about hour earlier in Ardmore in the northern part of the state, according to emergency management officials Rita White and Harry Markham. There were no immediate reports of damage or any injuries, and the weather service said all tornado warnings had expired in Alabama.
In southeastern Louisiana, the National Weather Service confirmed two tornadoes touched down, bringing down trees and power lines but causing no injuries.
An apparent tornado also damaged homes and downed trees near Columbus, Miss. Lowndes County Emergency Management director Cindy Lawrence said reports indicated at least a dozen homes were damaged near New Hope, between Columbus and the Alabama state line.
Brian Karg, a New Hope, Mississippi resident, told The Associated Press in a phone interview he was at home with his girlfriend and daughter Thursday evening as the weather began to worsen in the northeast Mississippi community.
After sending his girlfriend and daughter to the bathroom to hide, Karg looked outside to see a funnel cloud coming over his house. He snapped a picture as the twister, which hadn’t yet touched ground, passed over nearby trees.
“You always get a little nervous, but me being a guy, I want to see if it’s coming so I can be prepared,” Karg said, explaining why he didn’t hide.
Lawrence said it was unclear whether anyone had been injured. She said emergency workers were responding by foot in some places because so many trees were blocking roads.
Eric Carpenter, a meteorologist with NWS in Pearl, Miss., said radar detected a tornado debris signature beginning about 6:20 p.m. The storm crossed into Alabama and wind damage was reported in the Millport area there.
More than 12,000 power outages in the area were reported by 4-County Electric Power Association in Mississippi.
The slew of tornadoes in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama came a day after at least seven people were injured when severe storms spawned multiple tornado touchdowns in northeastern Oklahoma.
The National Weather Service said it will investigate storm damage in Mississippi’s Lamar County, that may have been caused by a tornado Thursday morning. Meteorologist Joanne Culin in Jackson said trees were down in two areas of Purvis and one crashed into a house. There were no reports of injuries.
Heavy rain in the Mississippi Delta caused some widespread flooding. Sunflower County Emergency Manager Ben Grant said about two dozen homes in Moorhead were evacuated.
Flood watches remained early Friday in parts of Alabama, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle. A large part of Georgia could still see damaging winds and potential for tornadoes. And in Louisiana, a cold front could produce flash flood conditions Friday night.