At least two people were killed in severe spring weather that threatened millions from Texas to South Carolina on Tuesday.
Separate systems moving east produced thunderstorms, rain and hail. About 22 million people from southeastern Louisiana to the South Carolina coast were at risk for severe storms Tuesday.
Unstable air, fueled in part by the annual clash of spring warmth and winter’s remaining presence, churned into funnels and possible tornadoes in Troy, Alabama, and Allendale County, South Carolina, according to video footage and local reports.
Weather-related deaths were reported in Whitehouse, a town in East Texas, and in the area of Pembroke, Georgia, a small town west of Savannah.
A Whitehouse man was killed when a tree toppled onto his home early Tuesday, Mayor James Wansley said in a statement. He later said emergency services workers believe the victim, WM Soloman, was 71.
“Last night’s storm also brought down power lines, obstructed traffic and caused property damage in the heart of the Whitehouse city,” Wansley said in the statement.
Winds in the area were measured at 100 mph during the worst phase of the front, the mayor said.
In Georgia, Bryan County Coroner Bill Cox said a woman was declared dead Tuesday night after her body was found near a mobile home that was destroyed by the day’s storm.
The union representing Savannah Fire Department firefighters tweeted that first responders were sent to Bryan County earlier Tuesday to help with possible tornado damage.
South Carolina’s Allendale County, just to the north, was the site of an apparent touchdown earlier in the day, according to the National Weather Service office in Columbia.
South Carolina Emergency Management Division spokesperson Brandon Lavorgna said 30 structures, including homes, were damaged when an apparent tornado carved a path believed to measure 10 miles or more.
The National Weather Service customarily confirms tornados the following day, or later, as it requires eyes on the ground to inspect the possible pattern of damage.
As the first storm system began to exit Tuesday night, it was expected to bring heavy rain to portions of the mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
Then a second storm system was likely to take its place, bringing with it a risk of severe weather for 30 million people across the Southeast.
The threat Wednesday will affect many of the same areas hit Tuesday, including the metro areas of Atlanta; Birmingham; Mobile, Alabama; Charleston; Tallahassee and Jacksonville.
By Thursday, severe storms will be confined to eastern North Carolina and small portions of coastal South Carolina and Virginia, from Myrtle Beach to Virginia Beach.
Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches could fall through Thursday.
East of the Rocky Mountains, from the Mexican border nearly to the Canadian border, forecasters said warm temperatures, low relative humidity and gusty winds could combine for fire conditions.
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly on Tuesday said six potential days of fire weather prompted her to declare a state of emergency as a precaution.
Next Monday through Wednesday will likely feature another multiday round of severe storms across the central and southern Plains and parts of the Southeast.
This would make the fourth week in a row with severe storms across in what has been a relentless streak of severe weather across the southern tier of the United States.
Anthony Cusumano contributed.