Southeast weather: Another round of severe weather expected after weekend tornadoes and storms killed dozens across the region

Southeast weather: Another round of severe weather expected after weekend tornadoes and storms killed dozens across the region

(CNN) Another round of severe thunderstorms may bring damaging winds and large hail to portions of the Southeast on Monday as some communities across the region are already working to rebuild following a weekend of intense storms and scattered tornadoes that left 26 people dead.

More than 20 million Southerners from Texas to the East Coast are under threat of severe storms on Monday, including Houston and New Orleans.

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In high-risk areas of central Alabama and Georgia, “flash flood impacts locally may be very significant to extreme through the morning hours,” the Weather Prediction Center warns.

High risk areas, including Montgomery, Alabama, and Macon, Georgia, could see isolated rainfall totals of 3 to 5 inches and as many as 8 inches could be seen in areas where several storms hit the same region. Parts of southern Georgia and South Carolina are under a slight risk of severe storms.

In Atlanta, the National Weather Service warned of “considerable” and potentially life-threatening flood threat until early Monday morning. The city had already received 1 to 2 inches of rain and several hail sightings overnight, with up to two more inches possible.

What is flash flooding?

On Monday evening, storms are forecast to flair up across southeastern Texas and into Louisiana, with the potential of large hail.

Some of Monday’s storms may fall across swaths of the region already hit with severe weather beginning Friday and stretching through the weekend, including an outbreak of destructive tornadoes, damaging hail and waves of rainfall.

At least 20 confirmed tornadoes were reported in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee Friday night, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

Residents of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, working to recover after a tornado ripped through the city on March 26, 2023.

Mississippi was especially hard-hit, with at least 25 people killed and dozens injured, prompting President Joe Biden to approve a disaster declaration for parts of the state.

In Rolling Fork, Mississippi — home to about 2,000 people — an especially violent and rare tornado obliterated enormous stretches of homes, businesses and city buildings as residents took shelter in tubs and closets, officials said. Drone footage showed homes reduced to piles of wood, trees splintered and uprooted and vehicles thrown around.

As the hazardous weather continued Sunday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency order intended to provide more state resources for communities’ recovery. In the state’s western city of LaGrange, a tornado damaged as many as 100 homes, dozens of which were “completely destroyed,” Troup County Emergency Management Director Zachary Steele said.

High temperatures are forecast to be above average across the South on Monday, in the mid-70s to low-80s, the National Weather Center said. Tuesday may bring cooler temperatures, but a renewed risk of heavy rain and flash flooding across the Gulf Coast, the center said.

‘It looks like a battle zone’

Search and recovery efforts were still underway in Mississippi on Sunday, as emergency personnel also worked to distribute critical resources, including bottled water, portable restrooms, batteries and fuel, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said.

In Rolling Fork, neighborhoods and businesses were so thoroughly leveled that there was “not any immediate shelter anywhere” on Sunday as more storms were on the way, Sharkey County District 1 Supervisor Bill Newsom told CNN.

The community’s police department, hospital, city hall, and grocery stores were also severely damaged and not operable over the weekend, officials said.

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“Everyone is affected. Entire subdivisions and neighborhoods … some are just wiped away, they’re just not even there,” said Newsom. “It looks like a battle zone.”

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas and FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell traveled to Mississippi Sunday to assess the damage and speak with federal, state and local officials.

Though the community has received an influx of donations and supplies, Rolling Fork Vice Mayor LaDonna Sias told CNN she is the most concerned about finding support for the families who have lost loved ones and are facing “total devastation.”

“We need to make sure that those people that are displaced, that no longer have any type of structure — they need immediate housing. They need some kind of assistance,” Sias said, adding that the families will require long-term support.

Multiple FEMA teams have been deployed to the site and the agency will work with state officials to find interim housing for those impacted, a release from the Homeland Security Department said.

A view of the destruction in Rolling Fork, Mississippi after deadly tornadoes and severe storms tore through the state on March 26, 2023.

Resident David Brown’s parents, Melissa and Lonnie Pierce, were both killed Friday when a tractor-trailer was picked up by the tornado and thrown on top of their home, CNN affiliate WAPT reported.

“Words can’t express how I’m feeling. I don’t know — broken,” Brown told WAPT. Brown said his son could have been in the home if he had not picked him up before the storm.

Brown and his family spent the weekend sifting through the crushed home, searching for any salvageable reminder of his parents.

“Honestly, if I can find anything in the rubble,” he said, “it would mean more than anything.”

Another Mississippi tornado, which tore through Carroll County and Montgomery County over the weekend, received a preliminary EF-3 rating, the weather service in Jackson said. An EF-3 tornado can carry wind gusts of up to 165 mph.

Three people who died in a single home in Carroll County appear to have been killed in a tornado, coroner Mark Stiles told CNN.

CNN’s Nouran Salahieh, Haley Brink, Holly Yan, Devon M. Sayers Michelle Watson and Raja Razek contributed to this report.


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