String of Severe Storms Kills 8

A tornado looms over some foliage.

Image: Flickr Creative Commons

At least 8 people have died in a recent series of tornadoes in the American south and east. Residents in states ranging from Texas to the Carolinas and Virginia are now tasked with cleaning up after the storms, which left significant damage in their wake. 35-60 tornadoes were reported earlier this week; the storms also threatened the eastern states of New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. Four other deaths were reported in Mississippi and Louisiana.

Six of those tornadoes were rated an EF2 or higher, according to the National Weather Service. The deadlier tornadoes swept across Lamar County, Mississippi; Convent, Louisiana; and across Virginia. The tornadoes were the first fatal ones in the state’s history.  Three people were killed in the small town of Waverly, Virginia, by a tornado whose estimated winds reached 100-110 miles per hour. A fourth person was killed in Appomattox County, Virginia.

Tens of thousands of people remain without power across the affected states. Local utility companies estimate a whopping 138,200 people who are without power across Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Massachusetts. Severe thunderstorm watches have been issued for most of the New England states, while Vermont and New Hampshire remain under flood warnings. Tornado watches were also briefly issued in Pennsylvania and western New Jersey, states that do not ordinarily suffer tornadoes.

Crews are currently working hard to rescue people from debris and damaged buildings, including in Tappahanock, Virginia, where more than 20 people are being treated for injuries at Riverside Tappahanock Hospital.

Additionally, a winter storm brought over 10 inches of snow to parts of Michigan and Illinois, Arkansas, Missouri, and Indiana. Over a thousand flights in these areas have been canceled. Wind gusts between 75 and 85 miles per hour have been seen in South Glastonury, Connecticut, and Milton, Massachusetts. The National Weather Service has issued the very first February warnings for severe thunderstorms in Caribou, Maine.

Overall, 300 reports of severe weather conditions have been issued for these parts of the U.S. This is the highest number of severe weather reports issued during a 24-hour period since these kinds of records were kept, beginning July of 2015.

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