At least two people have died after a tornado touched down in Alabama overnight as swaths of the South hunkered down to tornado warnings.
Tornado warnings in Alabama and Mississippi continued into the wee hours of Wednesday morning amid reports of tornadoes in the area overnight which seemed to leave a trail of destruction.
Two deaths were reported after a tornado touched down in Montgomery County, Alabama just after 3:30 a.m. local time, Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency Director Christina Thornton said.
“Thanks to the heroic efforts of our first responders, many more lives have been saved. We pray for our community as we mourn this tragic loss of life,” Thornton said.
The storms left thousands in the dark with more than 38,000 people in Alabama without power, nearly 6,000 in Georgia and more than 6,600 without power in Mississippi as of 8:40 a.m. Wednesday, according to PowerOutage.us.
Residents of areas of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were forced to take shelter Tuesday night as tornado sirens sounded amid a storm system that threatens put millions of people at risk.
Tornado warnings were issued Tuesday afternoon and continued overnight as severe thunderstorms moved from eastern Texas to Georgia, reaching as far north as Indiana.
In video shared on Twitter by meteorologist Craig Ceecee, residents could be seen sitting inside a tornado shelter in Starkville, Mississippi on Tuesday night.
“The fact that there were SO many tornadoes in this area today makes me grateful that all is well here. Thinking about what could have been,” Ceecee said in a Tweeter.
A number of areas reported damage to homes and neighborhoods, while the Caldwell Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana confirmed at least two people were injured due to extreme weather. The extent of their injuries was not immediately clear. The sheriff’s office said trees were also downed, while some homes in the area were damaged.
Videos and photos shared on social media appeared to show some of the destruction, with buildings appearing badly damaged, while a video of Muscle Shoals, Alabama showed a number of objects, including a chair, flying away in a storm.
In a update Shared Wednesday just before 2 a.m. ET, the National Weather Service warned that thunderstorms “capable of producing scattered damaging winds and a tornado or two” would be possible in parts of the southeast in the morning.
A line of strong to severe thunderstorms is expected to move rapidly southeast across southern Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and central/southern Georgia through noon Wednesday, he said.
Forecasters had previously warned that heavy rain and tennis-ball sized hail were possible in the severe weather which is expected to continue through Wednesday.
Meanwhile, heavy snowfall impacted traffic in parts of the Upper Midwest on Tuesday evening.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport tweeted Tuesday afternoon that its runways had been closed due to rapid snowfall and reduced visibility.
At least 378 flights within, to or from the United States were delayed early Wednesday morning, while at least 92 flights were canceled, according to online flight tracking FlightAware. It was not immediately clear whether these cancellations were weather-related.
Associated press contributed.