Several storms tore through Midwestern and Southern states on Monday and Tuesday, killing at least two people. These storms threatened several states, including Oklahoma, Missouri, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Texas. According to The Weather Channel, a series of storms generated "at least 25 tornadoes." Social media websites were flooded with images of downed trees, power lines, and even homes in the wake of these storms.
The storms' fatalities include a 75-year-old woman who was killed by a falling tree in Alabama. WIAT 42 reports that Shirley Hicks was in her mobile home with her husband when the tree fell down. The second victim was Eddy Withem, a father of three children and a Marine who was at home in when a tornado struck their Arkansas home. The tornado was categorized as an "EF2" on the Enhanced Fujito scale, which is characterized by winds between 113-157 miles per hour. Higher numbers on the EF scale indicate higher wind speeds.
Power outages were widespread as the storms travelled across the Southeast. CBS News describes how 29,000 residents in Atlanta were left without power after severe thunderstorms hit the city. On Tuesday, two tornadoes, rated EF0 and EF1, appeared in Atlanta, according to the National Weather Service. Residents braced themselves under a tornado watch.
On Monday, Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal declared a state of emergency due to the severe system of storms. His office cites the storms as the cause of 39,000 power outages in the Parish of Ouachita. However, tornado warnings in southeast Louisiana were cancelled Tuesday night.
NBC News reports that tornado and flash flood watches have begun in additional Southeastern states, which might be in the path of the storm system. Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and New Jersey are just some of the states that are on guard for extreme weather.
When tornadoes threaten an area, the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) recommends that residents seek shelter indoors, away from windows. Underground areas, such as basements, are preferable. Those who can't get underground should seek the lowest floor possible and take cover under a mattress or some other type of padded object, which can protect people against debris whipped around by a tornado. The SPC strongly advises people to get out of or away from mobile homes, vehicles, or outdoor areas when a tornado is approaching, and seek shelter immediately.
Tornado formation can occur suddenly, reducing the amount of time residents have to prepare and seek shelter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that you take note of the sky and overall weather in your vicinity to recognize the signs of tornado formation. Extremely dark, low clouds or large hail might indicate a pending tornado. The CDC insists that you should seek shelter immediately if you notice a funnel cloud forming.
Residents in the affected areas can keep an eye on current weather pattern changes by visiting the Storm Prediction Center's watch and warning map. Local storm and tornado sirens, along with televised news, can also provide residents with current updates.