2 dead as bad weather spawns nearly 30 tornadoes in 7 states


The deaths were reported Thursday in Washington County, Florida.

Two people were killed Thursday in the Florida Panhandle when their mobile home was overturned by a suspected tornado, one of nearly 30 that wreaked havoc in seven Southern and Midwestern states, officials said.

The deaths in Washington County, Florida were the first fatalities reported following the outbreak of severe weather that began Tuesday evening.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office said two mobile homes were destroyed and the two people killed were inside one of them, according to ABC affiliate station WMBB in Panama City. Two other people in the second mobile home that was destroyed were injured, the sheriff’s office said.

The deadly episode came after the National Weather Service issued new tornado warnings early Thursday from the coast of Apalachicola, Florida to Valdosta, Georgia.

The band of severe weather continued to move east and north, triggering severe weather warnings for the east coast, including a forecast of potentially damaging winds Thursday evening for New York, Trenton, NJ and parts of eastern Pennsylvania.

The severe weather front that slammed into the Rocky Mountains generated at least 29 tornadoes in seven states Tuesday night and throughout Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. Funnel clouds reportedly landed in Florida, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama and Missouri.

A twister that passed through Springdale, Ark., on Wednesday injured seven people and caused heavy damage to an elementary school. The NWS reported the Springdale tornado to be a powerful EF-3 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale and produce winds of 145 mph.

In addition to the tornadoes, the severe weather front was accompanied by damaging winds that tore roofs off homes, barns and businesses and uprooted trees.

In Louisiana, strong winds and poor visibility due to blowing debris were blamed for a three-car pileup on a highway near Iota that caused several minor injuries, according to the Iota Police Department.

At least 10 tornadoes were reported across Mississippi and high winds toppled tall trees outside the governor’s mansion in Jackson.

At least three tornadoes touched down in central Alabama, including one that toppled a mobile home in Shelby County, prompting the rescue of a person trapped inside, ABC affiliate station WBMA reported. Birmingham.

A twister also landed in Montevallo, Alabama, on Wednesday night, ripping off the roof of a University of Montevallo dormitory and injuring one person, according to the Montevallo Police Department.

“We are grateful that this week was spring break and that very few people were on campus during tonight’s storms,” ​​university officials said in a statement.

ABC News’ Max Golembo, Puri, Alexander, Griffin, Melissa Griffin and Whitney Lloyd contributed to this report.

ABC News

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