Tornado Hits Mobile, Ala.; ‘Severe Damage’ Confirmed

MobileRedCross_a_650x366A confirmed tornado touched down in Mobile, Ala. Thursday morning, causing damage to buildings and overturning cars. Police say the twister, confirmed by the National Weather Service as an EF1 after an initial survey of damaged areas, caused no injuries.

Damage was concentrated on the west and northwest sides of the city of Mobile. Cars were flipped at a Mercedes-Benz dealership, windows were broken out at a fast-food restaurant and at least one gas leak was reported.

“Fortunately, we didn’t have more severe damage to the residences and businesses there … but we did have some citizens that were trapped in their homes for a little bit,” said Art Faulkner, Director of Alabama Emergency Management.

Emergency management also reported debris littering Interstate 65 on the west side of the city, but was cleared by the afternoon. At least 10 homes suffered significant damage or were destroyed, according to the Red Cross.

“There is a lot of private property damage in that area, starting in a commercial area on the western side of the city and moving north to a heavily-residential area,” said Sam Jones, Mayor of Mobile.

Elsewhere, the NWS in Jackson, Miss., relayed nearly six dozen reports of downed trees in its area of responsibility. At one point, one-third of Warren County, which includes Vicksburg, was without power.

Power outages were also reported near Baton Rouge as a line of strong storms swept across southeastern Louisiana in the early morning hours.

As of 9:40 a.m. Eastern time, the Storm Prediction Center had tallied 180 reports of damaging winds across the south since the first damage reports came in shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday in southeastern Oklahoma. The storm threat will continue all day across parts of the Southeast.

“We will continue to see a favorable combination of wind shear and somewhat unstable air sliding east across parts of the Gulf Coast region today and into the eastern Carolinas tonight,” says weather.com meteorologist Nick Wiltgen. “This combination will maintain the threat of severe thunderstorms and possibly a few more tornadoes through tonight.”

Wednesday was the 178th consecutive day without a tornado fatality in the United States, the longest streak in at least 20 years.

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