WETUMPKA, Ala. ( Associated Press) – A tornado destroyed several homes and a fire station, trapped a group of people in a grocery store and tore off the roof of a residential building in Mississippi, killing two people. Alabama, officials said Wednesday.
The National Weather Service warned of the potential for strong tornadoes capable of destroying towns as the storm front moved eastward from Texas. Driven by unusually high temperatures, they threaten swaths of the United States, home to more than 25 million people.
Forecasters said “the risk of supercells capable of causing all kinds of severe hazards remains” near the Gulf of Mexico coast in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Matthew Elliott, a meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, said that between Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning, 73 tornado warnings and 120 severe thunderstorm warnings were issued.
Two people died in the town of Flatwood, north of Montgomery, Alabama. “They were in their mobile home when a tree downed by a tornado fell on it,” said Christina Thornton, director of the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency.
Thornton said other people in the area were also injured. A nearby church served as a refuge for those affected.
In the western Alabama city of Utah, video from WBMA television showed the roof of a residential building partially torn off, forcing 15 families to leave in the middle of the night.