A line of severe storms that packed isolated tornadoes and high winds ripped through the Deep South overnight, toppling trees and power lines and damaging homes and businesses as huge weather fronts swept across several states. .
At least two confirmed tornadoes injured many people, damaged homes and businesses, and downed power lines in Mississippi and Tennessee on Wednesday after the first storm damaged Arkansas, Missouri and Texas.
Officials said no casualties were reported from the storm till early Thursday. But extensive damage was reported in the Jackson, Tennessee, area under tornado warnings. Madison County Emergency Management Director Jason Moore said there was “significant damage” at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital and a nursing home near the Madison County Sheriff’s Office in Jackson.
In Nashville, Tennessee, paneling fell five stories from the side of a downtown hotel and onto the roof of a building below. The fire department warned that strong winds could blow debris into the air, and some hotel guests were moved to other parts of the building due to concerns that the roof would become unstable. There was no injury immediately associated with the fall.
Elsewhere, the roof of a warehouse collapsed in Southven, Mississippi, near Memphis, police said. The building was evacuated and no casualties have been reported.
The Mississippi Senate suspended its work on Wednesday as weather sirens sounded during a tornado watch in downtown Jackson. Some employees took refuge in the capital basement.
Rander P. Adams said he and his wife, Janice Delores Adams, were at their home near downtown Jackson when severe weather worsened Wednesday afternoon during a tornado warning. He said his lights flashed and a large window burst while trying to open his wife’s front door.
“The glass broke as if someone had thrown a brick in it,” he said. “I advised him, ‘Let’s go to the back of the house.'”
Adams said the storm downed trees in a nearby park, and a large tree was cut in half across the street from their home. “We were blessed,” he said. “Instead of falling towards the house, he fell on the other side.”
Earlier Wednesday, a tornado struck Springdale, Arkansas, and the surrounding town of Johnson, about 145 miles (235 kilometers) northwest of Little Rock, injuring seven people, Washington County, Arkansas, emergency management director John said. Diya, two were seriously injured. Luther.
The National Weather Service said the tornado would be rated “at least EF-2,” which would mean wind speeds reaching 111-135 mph (178-217 kph).
“Search and rescue teams have been deployed, as there is significant damage and injuries,” Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said.
(2/2) Search and rescue teams have been deployed due to significant damage and injuries. Continue to monitor the weather across the state as this storm system moves forward. Make sure you have a safe place in case extra severe weather hits your area.
In northwest Missouri, an EF-1 tornado with wind speeds of about 90 mph (145 kph) struck St. Joseph, according to the Weather Service. That tornado damaged two houses, but there were no casualties. Another EF-1 tornado with wind speeds of up to 100 mph (160 kph) before dawn Wednesday in a rural subdivision 25 miles (40 kilometers) east of Dallas, according to a weather service report, hit two rooftops. was harmed.
The storm came a week after a tornado struck a New Orleans-area neighborhood and caused destruction during the hours of the night, killing one man.
More than 8,000 power outages were reported in Arkansas, while Mississippi reported nearly 44,000, Louisiana and Alabama had 26,000 each, and Tennessee had 24,000 power outages.
Strong winds in Louisiana overturned semitrailers, peeled off the roof of a mobile home, crashed a tree into a house and toppled power lines, according to weather service forecasters, which made the state immediately vulnerable to any tornadoes. not confirmed.
Before the storm, dozens of schools in Memphis and Mississippi closed early or online classes as a precaution against having children in crowded buildings or buses. Officials in Mississippi’s various counties opened safe spaces for people worried about staying in their homes during the storm.
Firefighters, meanwhile, are trying to control a wildfire that spread near Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee, amid mandatory evacuations as the winds were exposed to an oncoming storm.
The fire, which could not be brought under control, had spread to about 250 acres (over 100 hectares) by Wednesday afternoon and one person was injured, officials said.
A 2016 wildfire devastated the tourist town of Gatlinburg, killing 14 people and damaging or destroying nearly 2,500 buildings, with smoke rising over a community.
Wagster Pettus reported from Jackson, Miss., and bleed from Little Rock, Ark. Associated Press journalist Jay Reeves in Newnan, Ga.; Rebecca Santana in New Orleans; Andrew DeMillo in Little Rock, Ark.; Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tenn.; Margaery Beck in Omaha, Neb.; Jonathan Matisse in Nashville, Tennessee; and Terry Wallace in Dallas contributed to this report.