Roundup: Over 30 million people across U.S. Southeast under severe storm threat

  • World
  • Thursday, 11 Apr 2024

HOUSTON, April 10 (Xinhua) -- From Texas to Georgia and parts of Florida Panhandle, more than 30 million people living across U.S. South and Southeast are under a severe storm threat with risks of damaging winds, flash flooding and tornadoes on Wednesday.

Alerts of "life-threatening" flood due to heavy downpours are in effect for over 13 million people in parts of the area, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

An estimated 12 inches of rain has fallen in parts of eastern Texas and western Louisiana over the last 36 hours, and storms capable of 2 to 3 inches of rain per hour will keep tracking through the region throughout Wednesday.

In the coming hours, storms moving through the region will likely produce "a few tornadoes ... with a couple intense tornadoes possible," the storm center said. "Widespread damaging winds and isolated significant gusts to 80 mph [are] likely."

Earlier on Wednesday, Jasper County in eastern Texas issued a disaster declaration as flooding damage was reported in homes and businesses in the town of Kirbyville having nearly 12,000 residents, the county sheriff's office said in a Facebook post.

"All major roads coming into Kirbyville are shut down due to flooding," the office said. Surrounding cities are under a flash flood emergency warning until noontime.

At least 11 school districts in Louisiana are closed on Wednesday as severe weather moves into the area. Louisiana State University also said classes would be held online on the day.

On Wednesday morning, a damaging wind gust of 83 mph was reported in Hackberry, Cameron Parish, around 15 miles southwest of Lake Charles, Louisiana.

A wind gust of 71 mph was reported in east New Orleans with several other gusts topping 60 mph across the coastal state.

Category 1 hurricanes have sustained winds of at least 74 mph. This report was a singular, sudden burst of wind but was capable of significant damage, CNN reported.

The National Weather Service in New Orleans has issued the highest possible severe thunderstorm warning on Wednesday morning, asking people in parts of the state's capital city Baton Rouge to prepare for "destructive...hurricane-force" winds.

"Mobile homes will be heavily damage. Expect considerable damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles," the service warned.

At least 24 homes have been damaged or destroyed in several counties across Mississippi after a severe thunderstorms hit the state Tuesday night, Governor Tate Reeves said in an update Wednesday morning.

Reeves warned residents that the state is expected to experience more severe weather on Wednesday.

A tornado watch from the Storm Prediction Center is in effect for nearly 4.5 million people living in southeastern Louisiana, including New Orleans, and portions of southern and central Mississippi, including Jackson, until 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. CT).

Another tornado watch has also been issued by the Storm Prediction Center for more than 1.5 million people living in southern Alabama and portions of the Florida Panhandle, including Pensacola, until 6 p.m. ET (5 p.m. CT).

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