CNN-A middle-aged man was killed this morning in Whitehouse, Texas, southeast of Tyler, when a tree fell on the RV where he was staying, said Jay Brooks, fire marshal and emergency management coordinator for Smith County.
Brooks said the county is still assessing damage to the area after reports of several trees down on homes and trees on roads following a severe storm in the area.
“I am devastated that a life was lost during this event, and my prayers will be with the family of the lost and those displaced as we continue to work through this situation,” Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said.
Strong storms sweeping through the South have already left reports of downed trees and other damage Tuesday morning — with more severe weather possible into the afternoon as the system rolls to the east.
More than 40 million people are at some level of risk for severe storms Tuesday, from the central Gulf Coast states into the Carolinas, the Storm Prediction Center said.
In general, damaging wind gusts — sometimes over 60 mph — are possible across these areas. And “several tornadoes are possible, including the risk of a strong tornado,” the prediction center said.
The most serious risk — a level 3 of 5 — exists for about 9 million people in parts of southern Mississippi, parts of the Florida Panhandle, southern and central Alabama and Georgia, and parts of South Carolina, the prediction center said.
Storms — and possibly tornadoes — already have battered parts of the Gulf Coast states Tuesday morning.
At least three possible tornadoes were reported in Mississippi, downing trees in Jefferson Davis and Covington counties northwest of Hattiesburg, as well as in Newton County east of Jackson, the National Weather Service said.
Downed trees and power lines near the southwestern Alabama community of Coffeeville also might have been caused by a tornado Tuesday morning, the weather service said.
Large hail was reported early Tuesday in Mississippi’s Rankin County northeast of Jackson, as well as in Marengo and Choctaw counties in western Alabama, according to the weather service.
Tornado watches were in effect until 11 a.m. CT for parts of northeast Louisiana and much of central and southern Mississippi, and until 2 p.m. CT for portions of central and southern Alabama and parts of the Florida Panhandle, the weather service said.
As the system moves east, the Atlanta area could see strong storms from late morning into the afternoon.
The following cities will see their greatest chance of severe storms from 4 to 10 p.m. ET: Tallahassee, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; Charleston, South Carolina; and Charlotte, Raleigh and Wilmington in North Carolina.
More severe weather possible in the South on Wednesday
Today’s severe weather is the latest in a series of storms that have battered the southern US for three weeks straight.
Four people were rescued Monday night from fast-moving floodwaters in McKinney, Texas, about 30 miles north of Dallas, Monday night, officials said. The McKinney Fire Department said on Twitter it carried out three separate water rescues. No one was injured.
Many of the same areas that have seen severe weather over the past few weeks will be in threat of it again over the week ahead, the Storm Prediction Center’s Bill Bunting told CNN.
“The very moist air flowing northward from the Gulf of Mexico, which has helped the storms develop over the last few weeks, is once again what we will see this week,” Bunting said.
By Wednesday, a separate system will form, bringing another round of storms to the South and extending the severe threat for another day. Wednesday’s highest risk — a level 3 of 5 — covers about 10 million people in Atlanta; Birmingham and Tuscaloosa in Alabama; and Chattanooga, Tennessee, the prediction center said.
By Thursday, the threat diminishes, as the storms push off the East Coast. While the system is primarily bringing storms to the South, we will still see rain Thursday for much of the Eastern Seaboard.
Anywhere from Florida to New England will see rain, so Wednesday and Thursday could bring a few travel delays at some major airports as this system moves through.