YAZOO CITY, Miss. (AP) – Heavy storms spawning a number of tornadoes moved south on Monday, damaging homes and uprooting trees from the Mississippi to Kentucky. A tornado spotted in Atlanta forced thousands to seek shelter, and a man was killed when a falling tree brought power lines to his car.
The driver was pronounced dead after firefighters cut him off the vehicle in Douglasville, Georgia, west of Atlanta, Douglas County spokesman Rick Martin told reporters. No other details were announced immediately.
The weather first broke out in Mississippi on Sunday, where, south of the city of Yazu, Vicki Savel was left with only the remains of a brand new mobile home, where she and her husband had moved only eight days ago. It was lifted from its base and moved to about 8 feet. It was completely destroyed.
“Oh God, my first new house in 40 years and it̵
Saul was not home, attending church, but her husband, Nathan, had returned home and leaned in front of his truck as the house nearby had been destroyed. From there, he watched his new home pass him, he said.
Nearby, Gary McGinty recalled that he had been home listening to the chirping of birds, then a dead silence. He looked outside and saw a dark, ominous cloud and took shelter in the hallway, he said. He survived, but trees crashed into his shed, two vehicles and the side of his house.
A series of strong storms rolled through the state on Sunday afternoon and night. An “emergency tornado” was announced for Tupelo and surrounding areas late Sunday.
Photos are retouched from the National Weather Service in Memphis showed several downed trees and power lines. Tupelo High School suffered some damage, as did houses and businesses.
There were numerous reports of damage to the homes of Elvis Presley Drive, right on the street from the home where the famous singer was born.. Presley was born in a one-bedroom house in the Tupelo neighborhood, but there are no indications that the historic home was damaged. It is now a museum.
Right down the street, a tornado ripped the roof off Terril and Chakila Pulyam’s home, they told the Northeastern Mississippi daily. About 10 family members took shelter inside the house, and “we all came in on time,” Teryl Pulyam said.
Calhoun County Sheriff Greg Polan said the city of Calhoun was also “hit hard”.
“The illuminated pillars have been torn off. Trees in several homes. Vehicle trees. Damage to several businesses. Fortunately, we have no reports of injuries at this time, “Polan posted on Facebook.
“I don’t even recognize my neighborhood anymore,” Martha Edmund told a northeastern Mississippi daily after a tree punched a hole in its roof, causing extensive water damage. Two parts of a metal company were badly damaged.
News also reported a tornado near Yazoo City, Byram and Tchula earlier Sunday.
As the system moved east, storms damaged homes in the city of Kentucky in early Monday, and the tornado clock covered large parts of Alabama and Georgia for most of the day.
At least one tornado was reported in South Carolina on Monday afternoon in Abeville County. According to warnings from the National Weather Service, the tornado was on the ground for several miles. No injuries were reported immediately. In Greenwood, fallen trees and power lines were reported as tents exploded on cars at a car dealer. Hail the size of a golf ball has been reported in several places.
In the southern city of Kentucky, Tompkinsville, a strong storm on Monday morning damaged several homes and knocked down trees and power lines, said fire chief Kevin Jones. No injuries were reported, he said.
Surveyors from the National Weather Service confirmed a tornado west of Atlanta near the place where the driver died. The twister was determined to have peak winds of 90 miles per hour (145 km / h) with a trail that ran 2.4 miles. At least 10 homes had trees on them.
The same thunderstorm sent thousands of people to shelter in the more central parts of Atlanta and may have produced at least one more tornado southwest of downtown. Atlanta firefighters have responded to numerous calls from down trees, a statement from the Atlanta Fire Department said Monday. No significant injuries were reported, although more than 20,000 Georgians lost power at one point. Possible tornado damage has also been reported in the area around Athens.
A warm, humid air mass was in place as upper-level disturbance moved in the area, repelling storms over the Mississippi, said Mike Edmonston, a meteorologist with the Mississippi National Weather Service.
“The ingredients were enough to develop strong storms,” he said. Three meteorological research teams are preparing to assess damage in the Mississippi, he said.
More storms are expected for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia on Tuesday, forecasters said. Tuesday’s storms could cause wind gusts of up to 113 miles per hour and hail to the size of golf balls, forecasters said, noting that “tornadoes are likely Tuesday through Tuesday night” in parts of Mississippi.
Associated Press writers Jeff Martin in Marietta, Georgia; Jeff Amy in Atlanta; Becky Yonker in Simpsonville, Kentucky; and Julie Walker of New York contributed to this report.