Powerful storms pounded the Deep South with rains and strong winds, killing at least three people and threatening some areas with tornadoes on Good Friday.
Storms marched east Friday morning, with a tornado watch continuing in south Georgia and the Florida Panhandle. More than 100,000 people are without power in the Southeast.
Severe thunderstorms are expected from the southern Atlantic Coast to the mid-coastal region, particularly across the Carolinas and southern Virginia, in the late afternoon and evening, the National Weather Service said. The thunderstorms will be able to produce damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes.
More than 130 instances of severe weather were reported Thursday in the Southeast, including 10 tornado reports in Mississippi.
Rains flooded neighborhoods in the state as strong winds uprooted trees and left branches scattered across major roads. The storm left at least two people dead in a state still reeling from last weekend’s tornadoes.
Kenderick Magee, 24, was killed when his car crashed during severe weather in Amite County on Thursday, CNN affiliate WLBT reported. A second unidentified driver was killed the same day when his car hit a tree in in Neshoba County, according to the affiliate. The sheriff told local media that a tree fell on the car.
In neighboring Alabama, one person died after a tree fell on a home, emergency management director Patrice Kurzejeski told CNN. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency reported that more than 61,000 people were without power late Thursday night.
The path of the storms
The storm system is moving through the coastal Atlantic states, blowing through Alabama, into Georgia and Florida. The weather service said it is monitoring possible severe thunderstorms that may be organizing.
“Severe thunderstorms with potential for damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes are expected across the southern through mid Atlantic Coast region,” the weather service said, “particularly across the Carolinas into southern Virginia” Friday afternoon and into the evening.
Parts of southeast Alabama — including the cities of Auburn and Tuskegee — are under severe thunderstorm watch and other parts of the state have been placed under flood warnings after heavy rains caused “significant” rises along the Tombigbee River.
Near Demopolis Lock and Dam, the river reached 69.1 feet — while the flood stage (after which flooding is possible) is at 68 feet.
As the storm system moves to the coast, states like New York and New Jersey are also preparing for possible severe conditions. The weather service said New York is expected to receive the most rain late Friday night through early Saturday afternoon and could see moderate coastal flooding.
Although the Northeast isn’t under major threat of severe weather, more than 40 million people are under a flash flood watch through Saturday afternoon.
Ahead of the severe weather set to make its way across the Northeast, Delta and United airlines are waiving their flight change fees for travelers scheduled to fly Friday.
In Mississippi, first responders are working to remove storm debris from the highways.
The state is still recovering from last weekend’s storm system, which killed one and injured nine across the state. The death was in Monroe County, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Greg Michel said.
The county was left in shreds after the storms last weekend, and the only fire station in Hamilton — a city in Monroe County — was wiped away.
“We were hit really, really, hard. We have a lot of flooding. There are several trees down. We are just a mess,” Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell had said.