The Latest: Forecasters confirm 4 tornadoes in Virginia
ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on severe weather in the South (all times local):
Four suspected tornadoes have been reported in Virginia.
The National Weather Service says damage has been reported Friday night after twisters touched down in Reston, Fredericks Hall, Barham and Forksville.
Authorities say a tree fell through the roof of a condemned house in Reston and tree damage was reported at an intersection in Fredericks Hall. Several trees were reported down in Barham, while a house and various small structures were damaged in Forksville.
The strong storm system was barreling through the South on Friday and killed an 8-year-old girl in Florida and threatened to bring tornadoes to large parts of the Carolinas and southern Virginia.
Forecasters have confirmed that 14 tornadoes touched down in Mississippi as severe storms made its way across the South.
The National Weather Service said in a news release Friday that it had surveyed Thursday afternoon’s twisters.
The strongest tornado had winds as high as 132 mph (212 kph) when it hit a neighborhood in the central Mississippi town of Morton, damaging numerous homes.
Four of the twisters were in Rankin County, just east of Jackson.
Damage from the storm system was reported in at least 24 of Mississippi’s 82 counties.
The National Weather Service reports downed trees and structure damage as severe storms roared through central and eastern North Carolina.
A preliminary report said there was roof and structure damage in one neighborhood in Chatham County outside of Siler City on Friday afternoon.
News outlets reported at least one house near Interstate 85 outside of Hillsborough in Orange County was severely damaged by winds that were thought to have resulted from a tornado.
To the east, several locations reported wind gusts approaching and in excess of 50 mph (22 km/h).
An immediate account of power outages was not available Friday evening due to problems with the Duke Energy website.
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant is declaring the state’s second state of emergency in less than a week due to tornadoes.
The Republican governor issued the proclamation Friday, a day after tornadoes swept across the state. The storms are blamed for three deaths in Mississippi — two men who were driving and a third man crushed by a tree he was cutting up after the severe weather struck.
The proclamation will speed state resources to affected areas. Among the hardest-hit areas is the town of Morton, about 30 miles east of Jackson.
Officials say Mississippi’s storm death toll stands at three after a man was fatally injured while helping cut a tree that fell on a house.
Lincoln County Coroner Clay McMorris tells the Daily Leader of Brookhaven that 63-year-old Freddie Mobley died from injuries after a tree trunk rolled onto him Thursday in the southwestern Mississippi community. Deputy Coroner Ricky Alford says the Brookhaven resident had made a few cuts on the tree and backed away when the trunk shifted before he could move. He was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead about two hours later.
Two other people who were killed while driving as severe weather moved through the South are also being counted as storm related deaths in Mississippi.
In Pell City, Alabama, 42-year-old Monica Clements died after a tree fell on her mobile home Thursday.
Hundreds of people are cleaning up part of a central Mississippi town hit hard by a tornado generated by a storm system moving through the South.
Volunteers and family members were swarming the north side of Morton on Friday, where the National Weather Service says a twister with winds as high as 132 mph (212 kph) hit a neighborhood a day earlier. More than 20 homes were heavily damaged or destroyed. The town of 3,500 is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Jackson.
People cut up and removed fallen trees to clear roads and yards. Some people were salvaging belongings from destroyed homes and loading them into vehicles.
Damage from the storm system was reported in at least 24 of Mississippi’s 82 counties.
Motorists are being urged to avoid part of a major interstate that runs through South Carolina after a line of storms downed trees and left the roadway scattered with debris.
Video posted on Twitter on Friday by the South Carolina Highway Patrol shows Interstate 26 in Orangeburg County littered with large tree limbs. One lane of eastbound traffic was open but moving slowly. The interstate is the main artery from South Carolina’s Upstate through Columbia and all the way to Charleston.
Many parts of South Carolina remain under tornado watches and warnings as the storm system moves through the state.
A storm system moving through the South is being blamed for the death of an 8-year-old girl in Florida.
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office says a tree fell Friday into a house in Woodville south of Tallahassee, killing the girl and injuring a 12-year-old boy.
The office said in a statement that the girl died at the hospital while the boy has non-life-threatening injuries. Their names weren’t immediately released.
Much of Florida was being hit Friday by strong storms that were also creating a threat of tornadoes in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia.
A storm system moving through Georgia has knocked down trees, caused minor flooding and cut off power to thousands of residents.
Georgia power companies reported that more than 37,000 customers were without power around the state Friday afternoon.
A tree came down on an apartment complex in an Atlanta suburb. Gwinnett County fire spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that people were inside at the time, but only one person reported a minor injury and was treated at the scene.
In Forsyth County northeast of Atlanta, Fire Department Division Chief Jason Shivers told the newspaper three firefighters suffered minor injuries when their firetruck overturned during heavy rain and wind.
The storm system was expected to hit the Carolinas and Virginia later, bringing the possibility of tornadoes to parts of those states.
Meteorologists say they have a high level of confidence that a tornado touched down in western Virginia.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Phil Hysell in Blacksburg said Friday that the damage on the ground still must be assessed. But he said radar readings appear to show a tornado formed in Franklin County, which is south of Roanoke.
The National Weather Service has been warning Virginians of heavy rain that can hide the tornadoes and of quarter-sized hail.
The Martinsville Bulletin reported that people saw some buildings that were damaged. The storms have also knocked down trees and power lines.
Storms roaring through the South have smashed a daily record for rainfall in Little Rock, Arkansas.
The National Weather Service says more than 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) of rain fell in the capital city Thursday.
Thursday’s downpour caused flash flooding and prompted the closure of several schools in Pulaski and Saline counties. The storm system that drenched central Arkansas also killed two Mississippi drivers and a woman in Alabama and left more than 100,000 people without power across Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
It’s now rumbling through Georgia.
Forecasters say the area at highest risk of severe storms and tornadoes Friday is home to 9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia and includes the Charlotte, North Carolina metro area.
The national Storm Prediction Center says that area will be at moderate risk of severe weather and tornadoes will be possible Friday.
The National Weather Service in Raleigh, North Carolina, says that “torrential downpours,” large hail and a few tornadoes are among the hazards.
Strong storms were rumbling through Georgia on Friday, after killing two Mississippi drivers and a woman in Alabama and leaving more than 100,000 people without power across Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
Strong storms are roaring across the South on Friday, after killing two Mississippi drivers and a woman in Alabama and leaving more than 100,000 people without power across Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
The threat Friday shifted to Georgia, where multiple tornado warnings covered parts of northeast Georgia. There were no immediate reports of any damage from those storms, but the tornado threat was expected to continue well into the day in the Carolinas and Virginia.
National Weather Service forecasters said they believe multiple tornadoes hit southwest and central Mississippi on Thursday, although they won’t be sure until the damage is surveyed. Heavy winds also were reported in Louisiana earlier in the day and in central Alabama as the system quickly pushed eastward.