A wide swath of the Southeast braced for another round of potentially deadly tornadoes and storms Monday, three days after a line of tornadoes killed more than two dozen people in Mississippi.
Flood and tornado watches and warnings rolled across much of Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia early Monday. Bands of storms were moving eastward within a corridor between the I-20 and I-85 across the three states, the National Weather Service said.
The weather service office in Birmingham, Alabama, warned of heavy rainfall and frequent lightning. A flash flood watch remained in effect for much of the area.
“Although a marginal threat, large hail and damaging winds are possible,” the office tweeted. “Please be cautious if driving this morning.”
Strong storms produced damage in areas west and south of Atlanta on Sunday, bringing hail to many in the metro and causing roads to close because of fallen debris.
The new warnings came as residents in the Mississippi Delta, one of the poorest areas in the nation, struggled to pick up the pieces Monday after Friday’s violent weather. At least 25 people died in Mississippi and one in Alabama. Entire towns were decimated; hundreds of residents have been displaced; homes and businesses were destroyed.
►A “marginal risk” for large hail and damaging winds was in place until at least noon for Alabama from Alexandria City to Selma.
►FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell spent much of Sunday in Mississippi, assessing damages and checking on survivors. “We will continue to support the state as they recover from these devastating tornadoes in the days and months ahead,” she tweeted.
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A strong front will push waves of showers and thunderstorms across north and central Georgia on Monday, the weather service said. The state weather offices’ Twitter feeds were rolling out storm and tornado warnings almost every minute. The tornado warnings wrapped up around 8 a.m., but the threat of severe thunderstorms and flooding remained. Additional rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches are expected, and locally higher amounts over 3 inches are possible. This on top of widespread heavy rainfall that has already fallen in recent days. Gov. Brian Kemp issued a state of emergency.
” As we continue to monitor the weather and work with local partners to address damage throughout the day, I ask all Georgians to join us in praying for those impacted,” Kemp said.
The National Weather Service office in Jackson, Mississippi, retweeted photos of hail almost as big as baseballs that fell Sunday while search and rescue teams picked through the rubble left by the weekend tornadoes. At least 25 people died in a Mississippi twister Friday night, wiping out entire blocks of homes and businesses in the town of Rolling Fork. Mayor Eldridge Walker is the town’s funeral director. Part of the funeral home has roof damage and the windows were blown out, but the building is structurally sound, he said.
“The daughter of one of the victims called and told me, ‘You’re going to have to help me get through this,'” he said.
“The devastation here in Rolling Fork is heartbreaking,” Gov. Tate Reeves said Sunday. “Thankful to our federal partners for being here on the ground to see the impact of this tornado. The character and generosity of Mississippians is on full display with the countless volunteers and donations being offered.”
Contributing: Lici Beveridge, Hattiesburg American