Violent storms strike the US South killing 2 in Georgia, Texas

People across the southern United States were clearing trees from roads and buildings as weather forecasters planned to survey damage from several possible tornadoes in Georgia and South Carolina, but said that effort could be interrupted by the potential for more storms on Wednesday.

Violent storms killed at least two people, one in Georgia and another in Texas, on Tuesday as hail, strong winds and tornadoes tore across the South leaving 50,000 homes without power and authorities warning of a second day of violent weather to follow.

More than 7,000 customers in Texas and more than 5,000 in Georgia remained without power early Wednesday, according to PowerOutage.us, which tracks outages nationwide.

In southeast Georgia, a woman was found dead Tuesday night amid the shredded wreckage of her mobile home in the unincorporated community of Ellabell, said Bryan County Coroner Bill Cox.

In Pembroke, Georgia, the county seat, a suspected tornado ripped part of the roof from the Bryan County courthouse, destroyed the entrance to a local government building across the street and damaged homes in nearby neighbourhoods, a local official said.

Several others were injured in the county located 48 kilometres (30 miles) west of Savannah, Georgia said Matthew Kent, a county government spokesman who said the death occurred in one of the damaged neighbourhoods but had no further details.

In eastern Texas, WM Soloman, 71, died when storm winds toppled a tree onto Solomon’s home in Whitehouse, about 160km (100 miles) southeast of Dallas, Whitehouse Mayor James Wansley said. Officials said trees fell on at least four homes there.

A demolished house is seen on South Main Street in Pembroke, Georgia after a storm passed through [Lewis Levine/AP Photo]

The change in seasons from winter to spring in the US often brings strong storms to the southeast part of the country. This year, the region has faced a barrage of storms including a tornado last month in New Orleans, where one person died, and storms that killed two people in the Florida Panhandle last week.

The threat of damaging weather will move further north on Wednesday, forecasters said, with severe storms possible across an area stretching from western Alabama to the western Carolinas. More than 10 million people in metro areas around Atlanta, Birmingham, Knoxville and Chattanooga will be at risk, the Storm Prediction Center said.

“The atmosphere will be primed again for more severe storms as we go through Wednesday,” said Jared Guyer, a forecaster at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

A power pole ripped from its location lies on East College street in Pembroke, Ga., after a storm damaged several homes and the Bryan County Courthouse, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Pembroke is 30 miles from Savannah, Georgia.
A power pole ripped from its location lies on East College Street in Pembroke, Georgia, after a storm damaged several homes and the Bryan County Courthouse [Lewis M Levine/AP Photo]

In southeast Georgia, Gage Moore, 23, was driving home from work Tuesday evening on Interstate 16 in Bryan County when his fiance called saying she heard tornado sirens. About two minutes later, Moore said, he looked up to see a towering twister looming to the left of the highway.

Moore said he pulled over and stopped his car behind an overpass, then took mobile phone video of the funnel cloud churning across the interstate.

“Everybody started slamming on brakes all around me,” Moore said. “I could actually feel my truck shaking back and forth and hear the roar of it passing by.” He added, “Thankfully, we all stopped and left a huge gap in the interstate where it crossed.”

In South Carolina, Allendale County Manager William Goodson said a tornado, captured in a video on social media, caused damage in his rural county.

Debate was delayed for nearly an hour in the South Carolina legislature after the state house chamber was evacuated for a tornado warning at the state capital of Columbia.

“I know we have buildings damaged and power lines down,” Goodson said.

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