VIDEO: Tuscaloosa, Alabama Massive Tornado On the Ground Amateur storm chaser in town April 27, 2011.
Large, Violent Tornadoes Devastate Ala., Miss., Ga., Tenn.
By Kristina Pydynowski, Senior Meteorologist
Apr 27, 2011www.accuweather.com
Another devastating, deadly tornado outbreak that started in Mississippi this afternoon continues in Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia tonight with tornadoes continuing to touch down.
The tornadoes and severe thunderstorms have killed at least 25 people in Alabama today, according to CNN, and the death toll will continue to rise.
As of 11 p.m. EDT, there have been 135 reports of tornadoes, according to the Storm Prediction Center. Most of these tornadoes have touched down in Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee, and many have been large, powerful twisters.
After a tornado tore through the Cartersville area of Georgia just after 9 p.m. EDT, another twister was moving through around 10:45 p.m.
A line of severe thunderstorms, some capable of producing tornadoes, was tracking toward Atlanta as of 10:45 p.m.
This is an extremely dangerous situation with serious concern for loss of life and property. All people in the path of these thunderstorms need to get to a safe shelter immediately if a tornado or severe thunderstorm warning is issued.
A very large tornado hit Tuscaloosa, Ala., after 6 p.m. EDT with "complete devastation" being reported on 15th Street and McFarland Boulevard, according to Tuscaloosanews.com. Businesses and apartment buildings have reportedly been completely destroyed with at least 15 people killed and more than 100 injured.
Tornadoes also touched down around Birmingham, Ala., with casualties reported.
With another large twister that tore through far northwestern Georgia, just south of Chattanooga, Tenn., local media reported that a mass casualty trailer has been requested. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution stated there have been reports of damaged cars and tossed tractor trailers near the Ringgold exit off I-75 in Catoosa County.
A Catoosa County Sherriff, Fire and EMS Live Audio Feed has reported casualties.
Whitfield County is also sending in mutual aide to Catoosa County to help rescue people trapped under collapsed restaurants, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Local media reported that a three-story hotel collapsed in Catoosa County as well.
A Tornado leaves a path of devastation after as it hits Pratt City just north of downtown Birmingham on Wednesday, April 27, 2011, in Birmingham, Ala. The widespread destruction caused Gov. Robert Bentley to declare a state of emergency by midday, saying tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, hail, and straight-line winds caused damage to "numerous homes and businesses" in Alabama. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Josh Nagelberg reported that the supercell thunderstorm that produced the Tuscaloosa tornado was still producing a tornado three hours later in northwestern Georgia. The twister passed within a few miles of Rome, Ga., just after 9 p.m. EDT with reports of destruction to homes. "This could be the worst tornado in Alabama's history," Nagelberg stated.
Three fatalities have been reported with a tornado that tore through Kemper County, Miss., earlier Wednesday. Mobile homes were damaged and destroyed with a large number of trees down, preventing emergency workers from reaching the area.
Multiple fatalities have also been reported in Pleasant Grove, Ala., on the west side of Birmingham. At least two people were reportedly killed by a tornado near Turnerville, Miss.
WSFA.com reported that "this is at least the second tornado in 12 days to touch down in Tuscaloosa." The last time was during the April 15, 2011 outbreak that devastated Mississippi and central and southern parts of Alabama.
Tornadoes will continue ripping through areas from far eastern Mississippi into central and northern Alabama, far northwestern Georgia and Tennessee this evening. More tornadoes could be large, long-tracking and strong, ranking equal to or higher than EF3.
Cities that remain at risk for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes include Montgomery, Ala., and Rome and Atlanta, Ga. The violent thunderstorms will continue moving west to east across this general zone tonight.
Many of these same areas were just hit during last night's tornado outbreak, which prompted Alabama Governor Robert Bentley to declare a state of emergency.
People in the path of these thunderstorms who live in mobile homes need to find an alternate shelter. Mobile homes are not safe in the event of a tornado. Many deaths during the massive outbreak of April 14-16, 2011, involved mobile homes.
The safest place to be during a tornado is in the most interior room of the lowest level of a sturdy building, preferably a basement.
Dangerous thunderstorms started moving into Mississippi from the west at mid-morning with a tornado spotted in Esperanza, Miss., just after 9 a.m. CDT. A twister was sighted later on near Lawrenceburg, Tenn., around 10:40 a.m. CDT.
Another possible tornado touched down one mile north of Decatur, Ala., around 11:30 a.m. CDT, while debris was reported with a tornado near Athens High School in Athens, Ala., around the same time.
Tornadoes are not the only threat with these thunderstorms.
"Many thunderstorms will also be capable of producing widespread wind damage in the absence of tornadoes, especially overnight. Hail larger than the size of golf balls could damage vehicles and roofs, while torrential rain causes flooding," stated Buchman.
Today's Outbreak Comes Just Hours after Last Night's Outbreak
Many of the same areas in the path of today's vicious tornado outbreak were just hit by damaging thunderstorms and tornadoes Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
Nearly two dozen tornadoes were reported in Mississippi Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning along with widespread damaging winds. At least six people were killed.
Several tornadoes also touched down in Alabama and southern Tennessee, taking the lives of four people in Alabama and one in Arkansas. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley declared a state of emergency after the severe weather tore through.
A tornado was reported near Birchwood, Tenn., just before 10 a.m. Wednesday, with several homes damaged and some possibly destroyed.
Strong thunderstorm winds reportedly damaged 30 homes, injuring one person, near Lawrenceburg, Tenn., around 5 a.m. Wednesday CDT. Four people were reportedly injured in Morrison, Tenn., when a trailer was destroyed.
Northeast of Birmingham, Ala., thunderstorms reportedly ripped the roofs off of homes and knocked trees onto houses early Wednesday morning. Even the Birmingham Shuttlesworth International Airport has suffered damage with the roof of a large hangar reportedly being torn off.
Other Areas at Risk for Severe Weather into Tonight
It is not just the Tennessee Valley being targeted by potentially damaging thunderstorms and tornadoes today into tonight.
Severe weather will also ignite southward to the central Gulf Coast and northeastward to the eastern Great Lakes and central Appalachian Mountains.
Damaging winds, hail and flooding downpours are the greatest dangers of any severe thunderstorms outside of the Tennessee Valley.
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