Severe weather: Tornado hits Florida Panhandle, severe storms possible along East Coast
A tornado hit Washington County, north of Panama City, county sheriff’s spokeswoman Kristy Kolmetz said.
“There is total destruction of houses in this area,” Kolmetz told CNN. The condition of the two injured was not immediately available.
More violent storms and high winds are still possible on Thursday over part of the eastern third of the country.
That includes the cities of Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Allentown, Pennsylvania, the prediction center said.
Lesser, “slight” risk extends from the Florida Panhandle to New York, and “marginal” risk exists for areas just outside of this zone, including central Florida and parts of northern New York and New England state, the prediction center said.
Storms, with suspected tornadoes, damaged buildings in the South on Wednesday
Storms caused damage in several parts of the south from Wednesday morning until overnight.
The George Elementary School gymnasium was destroyed and the kitchen and cafeteria were badly damaged, the Springdale School District said.
“Many residents were displaced from their homes and many businesses reported significant damage,” Sprouse said.
In Alabama, one person was slightly injured by inclement weather Wednesday night at Montevallo University, about 35 miles south of Birmingham, the school said. The area had been under a tornado warning that night. Details on how the injury occurred were not immediately available.
In Choctaw County in southwest Alabama, several homes suffered major to minor damage, emergency officials said. Southern Choctaw High School also suffered damage Wednesday to its baseball field and gym, and a school bus was overturned on its side, said Tyler Davidson of the Choctaw County Emergency Management Agency.
In Noxubee County in eastern Mississippi, at least two mobile homes were damaged Wednesday and residents were rescued from inside, said Corey Brown of the county emergency management office. They are believed to have sustained non-life-threatening injuries, Brown said.
High winds ahead of the storm system helped fuel a bushfire in Sevier County, Tennessee. At least one person was injured and the flames scorched at least 1,000 acres, county officials said. At least 35 structures were affected.
US sets March tornado record for second year in a row
The previous March record was set last year, when 191 tornadoes were reported across the country. The third highest total for March was in 2017, with 187.
Most tornadoes in the United States occur from April to May, although scientists have observed a trend of more tornadoes occurring earlier in the year, likely due to climate change, as well as influences from La Nina.
“Our future projections of how extreme weather may change in the future…they show an earlier start to the extreme weather season, so more extreme weather in February, more extreme weather in March” said Victor Gensini, a professor at Northern Illinois University. , told CNN.
CNN’s Aya Elamroussi, Caroll Alvarado, Brandon Miller, Chris Boyette, Mike Saenz and Gregory Lemos contributed to this report.