MOBILE, Ala. ( Associated Press) — A potential tornado flattened a downtown store and ripped a metal building in Mobile Bay early Friday, and forecasters said more storms could hit an area stretching from south Alabama to coastal Virginia. can.
Violent winds opened a Family Dollar store in a heavily populated neighborhood in Mobile and damaged an adjacent supermarket before dawn, news outlets reported. Another building to the east across the bay at Daphne was badly damaged, where trees were scattered.
There were no casualties, and the Hurricane Prediction Center said a tornado may have damaged Mobile.
Mobile was near the southwest end of a front extending to the Virginia coast, where forecasters said strong thunderstorms were possible. About 24 million people live in this area, which includes Atlanta; Raleigh and Charlotte in North Carolina; and Norfolk, Virginia.
Earlier storms produced several tornadoes that ripped through Texas and Oklahoma, causing damage to a school, a marijuana farm, and other structures.
There were no reports of serious injuries following Wednesday night’s tornado, but the system caused flooding in parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas and more stormy weather Thursday.
Significant damage was reported in the Oklahoma city of Seminole, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) southeast of Oklahoma City, where Governor Kevin Stitt said a damage assessment was underway after visiting the area on Thursday.
“(We) are getting all the resources and supplies the city wants and needs,” including generators, Stitt said. “Thank God no one got hurt.”
The National Weather Service said it suffered damage in the Seminole from an EF2 tornado with winds of up to 135 mph (217 kph).
The storms on Wednesday and Thursday were the latest in several rounds of severe weather in the central United States. Last week, a tornado damaged more than 1,000 buildings in the Wichita suburb of Andover, Kansas. Three University of Oklahoma meteorology students died in a car accident while chasing a storm.
The weather service said more storms would continue over the weekend in the central plains and midwest, following a threat to the southeast pass.