Tornadoes reported as rare June outbreak of severe weather hits Southeast


There were seven reports of tornadoes, some with damage, and other reports of strong winds Wednesday as rare volatile weather in June hit parts of the Southeast and the Gulf Coast, forecasters said.

No deaths have been reported in the possible tornadoes, which have been reported in Alabama, Georgia and Texas, according to the National Weather Service.

The potential tornadoes occurred on a day that saw more than 23 million people in the path of multiple surges of severe thunderstorms, which carried the risk of tornadoes.

This screenshot taken from video shows a tornado in Blakely, Georgia, on Wednesday.Rand McDonald/AP

A severe storm watch covered parts of Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama Wednesday night. Tornado watches covered parts of Florida and Georgia.

Eufaula, Alabama, suffered damage in what is believed to be a tornado, the police department for the city of about 12,000 people said, and has seen a tornado hit the city in four of the past five years.

“We cannot stress enough to be aware of the weather and be ready,” the police department said.

In Eutaw, a woman was hospitalized after a storm destroyed the home she was staying in, Mayor Latasha Johnson said. In Abbeville, a potential tornado ripped part of the roof off an Alabama Forestry Commission building, a spokesman said.

Strong winds also downed power lines. Most of the outages in the South occurred in Alabama, with about 87,000 customers without power Wednesday night, according to the tracking website.

More than 30 million people are in the severe storm hazard zone from northeast Texas to the southeast coast overnight.

The highest tornado risk was most concentrated Wednesday afternoon in central/eastern Alabama and southwestern Georgia. That includes the cities of Montgomery, Alabama; Dothan, Alabama; and Colon, Georgia.

On Wednesday morning, the Storm Prediction Center declared a moderate risk of severe storms, a level 4 out of 5 on its scale, for a region that does not typically see such a high level of severe storms during June. For the Southeast and Gulf Coast regions, severe storms are most likely during the early spring months, such as March or April. In mid-June, the highest concentration of severe storms is typically found on the Great Plains.

Weather in the continental United States on June 14, 2023.
Weather over the continental US on Wednesday.NOAA

An unusually strong subtropical jet stream combined with large amounts of heat and moisture was behind the explosive thunderstorms.

Severe thunderstorm watches had already been in effect at dawn Wednesday for parts of Arkansas and Mississippi, the start of the first round of multiple rounds of storms projected to hit the regions over the next 24 hours.

As the day progressed from morning to afternoon, Alabama and Georgia joined the threat of severe weather, with thunderstorms the greatest chance during the afternoon and evening.

The heavily traveled Interstate 20 corridor, which includes Birmingham and Atlanta, could be affected by storms, which could produce tornadoes, damaging hail and gusty winds.

In all of those areas, hail could also exceed 3 inches in diameter, the size of a baseball. Hail of that size is rare for the Southeast at any time of the year. The highest hail risk includes areas of northeast Texas, southern Arkansas, and northern Louisiana and cities such as Little Rock, Arkansas; Shreveport, Louisiana; and Jackson, Mississippi.

The risk continues Thursday for nearly 4 million people on the Gulf Coast and Florida Panhandle, including the I-10 corridor. Hazards will include damaging hail and wind gusts.

Severe storms aren’t the only concern for the region, as Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle are also dealing with flooding concerns from rounds of storms that could deliver up to 5 inches of rain or more locally through Thursday morning. tomorrow. For that reason, flood alerts increased for 6 million people across the region. Cities most at risk for flash flooding include Birmingham; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Montgomery; and Savannah, Ga.

The Northeast could also see a few thunderstorms on Wednesday, with impacts including gusty winds and small hail. Cities like Hartford, Connecticut, and Boston could receive such storms around 4 to 9 p.m. ET.

Aside from the storms, Texas is struggling with triple-digit temperatures that are forecast to hold through the weekend. Heat watches are in effect for areas from Waco to Brownsville. Highs can range from 110 to 120 degrees. Records could be broken Friday in cities including Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio; they are all set to rise to the century mark.

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