Communities across Texas are picking up the pieces Tuesday morning after suspected tornadoes struck the state on Monday, causing dozens of structures to be damaged, 19 people to be hospitalized, and thousands of people to lose power.
According to Grayson County’s office of emergency management, at least ten people were taken to hospitals as a result of the severe weather. Meanwhile, nine people were treated in hospitals in Jacksboro, which is located in Jack County.
According to PowerOutage.us, over 47,000 customers were still without power as of 8 a.m. Tuesday, with the worst outages in Houston and Carson County. According to the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center, the storm system that swept through Texas and caused extensive damage is now moving east toward Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, where it could trigger “a regional severe weather outbreak.”
A possible tornado struck the county and town of Jacksboro shortly after 3 p.m., damaging or destroying up to 80 homes and businesses in Jack County, west of Dallas, officials said.
Approximately 22 million people in Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana were expected to be affected by severe storms on Monday, including the possibility of nocturnal tornadoes, which occur after dark, according to forecasters. People are sleeping and have no way of being woken up by warnings, so nocturnal tornadoes are two and a half times more deadly than their daytime counterparts.
On Monday, the National Weather Service received 19 tornado reports from Texas and Oklahoma, but they are unverified and will need to be confirmed by storm survey teams.
One of them occurred in Marshall County, Oklahoma, where a possible tornado damaged a quarter-mile swath of land in the Kingston area, according to NBC affiliate KFOR in Oklahoma City.
There were no serious injuries reported at the time, but drone footage from the station showed shattered and destroyed structures. The Norman weather service office said Tuesday that survey teams would be dispatched to assess the damage.
Throughout the first half of the week, severe weather is expected. For much of the South and the mid-Atlantic, forecasters are predicting tornadoes, electrical storms, softball-sized hail, and winds of more than 60 mph through Wednesday.
The Storm Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a moderate risk of severe thunderstorms for Tuesday (a threat level of 4 on a scale of 5) on Sunday. The last time a threat level this high was issued so far ahead of time was on April 12, 2020, ahead of the Easter Sunday outbreak. There were 16 EF3 and EF4 tornadoes in that outbreak. For the most dangerous of the three days, severe storms are expected to affect 10 million people through Tuesday night, with a regional tornado outbreak possible. Storms are expected to continue throughout the day and into the night.
Lake Charles and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, New Orleans, Jackson, Mississippi, Tuscaloosa, and Mobile, Alabama are all places to keep an eye on. Along with large hail and strong winds, several significant tornadoes are possible, and nocturnal tornadoes are expected to be a risk again Tuesday night.
By Wednesday, the storm system is expected to track east, putting 25 million people in the path of all severe hazards from northern Florida to much of the Southeast and the mid-Atlantic once more. Atlanta, Tallahassee, Florida, Charleston, South Carolina, and Raleigh, North Carolina are among the cities to keep an eye on during the week.
Because simultaneous tornado and flash flood warnings have contradictory recommendations for what to do in the event that one is issued, it can be difficult for meteorologists to communicate and for the public to respond. Tornadoes take cover beneath the ground to avoid being seen. When it comes to flash flooding, the action is to move to higher ground.
Meteorologists urged anyone in the storm’s path to review their severe weather plan, stay alert, and pay attention to experts providing lifesaving information. This includes having a way to receive warnings, such as using a NOAA weather radio or enabling emergency alerts and notifications on smartphones.