- The outbreak is ongoing.
- Shelters and saferooms are open.
- Anyone in the path of severe weather should monitor conditions closely.
Dozens of homes are damaged and trees and power lines are down as a dangerous tornado outbreak is underway in the Deep South.
There were no immediate reports of injuries.
About 30,000 homes and businesses were without electricty across Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi as of about 4:30 p.m. CDT, according to poweroutage.us.
There were at least a dozen reports of tornadoes by early Wednesday evening.
Video from Moundville, Alabama, near Tuscaloosa, showed a tree blocking a road and several homes with holes in their roofs. Twenty to 30 homes in the area sustained mostly minor damage, according to a local media report that cited Hale County Emergency Management.
Tamara Croom, deputy director for emergency management in adjacent Tuscaloosa COunty, told weather.com Wednesday evening that some residents were displaced in the Moundville area. Most of the damage was to roofs, Croom said.
Photos posted to social media showed a home that appeared to have collapsed in Autauga County, Alabama, on the northwest side of Montgomery.
A shelter in Tuscaloosa filled with people, according to WBRC-TV. Students also crowded into a shelter at the University of Alabama, where students were told to stay in a safe place until at least 4:15 CDT.
A dispatcher in Wayne County, Mississippi, told weather.com Wednesday afternoon that several homes and chicken houses were damaged in the county, about 60 miles northeast of Hattiesburg and near the state line with Alabama . Officials hadn’t been able to go out to the scene because of ongoing severe weather, so the extent of the damage was unknown.
A tornado touched down in the county shortly after noon CDT.
Video shot in Wayne County and shared on social media showed what appeared to be debris flying in the air.
A photo shared by WLBT-TV showed damaged farm structures.
The storms come as NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center issued a “particularly dangerous situation” tornado watch until 7 p.m. CDT from central and southern Mississippi into western and central Alabama. This includes Jackson, Hattiesburg and Meridian in Mississippi and Birmingham and Tuscaloosa in Alabama.
This type of tornado watch is rarely issued and means numerous strong tornadoes are expected.
Multiple other areas are also under threat.
Officials in Hattiesburg announced that all city offices would close at 2 p.m. CDT.
“Today is a very serious day,” Mayor Toby Barker said in a Wednesday morning briefing.
“Today is really a day you need to be focused on weather. And even, especially, into tonight,” said Glenn Moore, director of Forrest County Emergency Management Agency, which includes Hattiesburg.
Several shelters and saferooms are open statewide.
In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency for all of the state’s 67 counties ahead of the storms. Schools in several cities and counties were either closed Wednesday or moved to virtual classes only, including Birmingham.
COVID-19 vaccination sites were also closed in several states.
Schools in some parts of Louisiana announced they would dismiss students early on Wednesday afternoon.
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Dangerous severe weather is expected to continue through Wednesday night in the Deep South with the potential for long-track intense tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail, according to weather.com meteorologists. This could include the middle of the night.
Anyone in the potential path of severe weather should monitor all forecasts, watches and warnings closely, be prepared to seek shelter immediately and have multiple ways to receive severe weather alerts.
The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.