YAZOO CITY, miss. (AP) – Heavy storms, causing multiple tornadoes, swept the south, damaging homes and uprooting trees from Mississippi to Kentucky on Monday. A tornado discovered in Atlanta forced thousands to seek shelter and one man was killed when a falling tree brought power lines into his vehicle.
The driver was pronounced dead after firefighters cut him out of the vehicle in Douglasville, Georgia, west of Atlanta, Douglas County spokesman Rick Martin told reporters. No further details were released immediately.
The weather turned rough for the first time on Sunday in Mississippi, where Vickie Savell, south of Yazoo City, was left with the remains of the brand new mobile home she and her husband had moved into eight days ago. It had been lifted from its foundation and moved about eight meters. It was completely destroyed.
“Oh my god, my first new house in 40 years and it’s gone,” she said Monday amid treetops scattered across the neighborhood and the roar of chainsaws as people worked to clear roads.
Savell hadn’t been home to church, but her husband Nathan had driven home and crouched in front of his truck when the nearby house was destroyed. From there he saw his new home fly past him, he said.
Nearby, Garry McGinty remembered being home and listening to birds chirping – then dead silence. He looked outside and saw a dark, threatening cloud and took shelter in a hallway, he said. He survived, but trees slammed into his carport, two vehicles, and the side of his house.
A series of severe storms rolled through the state on Sunday afternoons into the night hours. Late on Sunday, a “tornado emergency” was declared for Tupelo and the surrounding area.
Photos retweeted by the National Weather Service in Memphis showed several fallen trees and power lines. Tupelo Middle School, homes and businesses were damaged.
There have been several reports of damage to homes on Elvis Presley Drive, just down the street from the house where the famous singer was born. Presley was born in a two bedroom house in the Tupelo neighborhood, but there was no evidence that the historic home was damaged. It’s a museum now.
Just down the street, a tornado tore the roof off Terrille and Chaquilla Pulliam, they told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. About 10 family members took shelter in the house and “we got everyone inside on time,” said Terrille Pulliam.
Calhoun County Sheriff Greg Pollan said Calhoun City was also “badly hit”.
“Light poles were broken off. Trees in a couple of houses. Trees on vehicles. Damage to several companies. Fortunately, we haven’t received any reports of injuries at this point, ”Pollan wrote on Facebook.
“I don’t even recognize my neighborhood anymore,” resident Martha Edmond told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal after a tree stabbed a hole in her roof and caused severe water damage. Two sites of a metal processing company were badly damaged.
News outlets also reported tornadoes near Yazoo City, Byram, and Tchula early Sunday.
As the system moved east, early Monday storms damaged homes in a Kentucky city, and a tornado clock covered large parts of Alabama and Georgia for much of the day.
At least one tornado was reported in Abbeville County in South Carolina on Monday afternoon. The tornado appeared to be several miles on the ground according to warnings from the National Weather Service. No injuries were reported immediately. Fallen trees and power lines were reported in Greenwood, while tents were blown up on cars at a car dealership. Several locations reported hail the size of a golf ball.
In the southern Kentucky town of Tompkinsville, a severe storm damaged several homes and knocked down trees and power lines on Monday morning, Fire Chief Kevin Jones said. No injuries have been reported, he said.
The National Weather Service experts confirmed a tornado west of Atlanta near where the driver died. The Twister was found to have top winds of 145 km / h with a path that was 2.4 km. At least 10 houses had trees.
The same thunderstorm sent thousands of people to more central parts of Atlanta for shelter and may have spawned at least one other tornado southwest of downtown. Atlanta firefighters responded to multiple calls from trees, Atlanta Fire Rescue said in a statement Monday. No significant injuries have been reported, despite the fact that more than 20,000 Georgia residents lost power at one point. Possible tornado damage has also been reported in the Athens region.
A warm, humid mass of air was in place when an upper level fault moved over the area, triggering the storms over Mississippi, said Mike Edmonston, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Mississippi.
“The ingredients were just enough for severe storms to develop,” he said. Three weather service survey teams were preparing to assess the damage in Mississippi, he said.
According to forecasters, more storms are on the program for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia on Tuesday. Tuesday’s storms could bring gusts of wind up to 70 mph and hail the size of golf balls, forecasters said, noting that in parts of Mississippi, “tornadoes are likely Tuesday through Tuesday nights.”
Associate Press Writer Jeff Martin in Marietta, Georgia; Jeff Amy in Atlanta; Becky Yonker in Simpsonville, Kentucky; and Julie Walker in New York City contributed to this report.