Early next week, millions of Americans will find themselves at risk of severe thunderstorms capable of tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds.
Areas most at risk will be the southern, southeastern and Gulf Coast plains states which will experience two rounds of severe storms in the coming days.
The first batch of severe weather started to hit the southeast on Friday and is expected to move into the mid-Atlantic on Saturday.
As of Friday afternoon, 14 million people remained at risk of severe weather in an area that stretches from the Ohio Valley to the Tennessee Valley and the Gulf Coast, with a tornado watch in effect. for Southwest Georgia, Florida Panhandle and Southeast regions. Alabama.
As of noon on Friday, severe damage was reported to a mobile home park in Atmore, Alabama. Escambia County Sheriff Heath Jackson said two people were hospitalized and nine trailers were destroyed by the weather that passed through the area.
A resident was sleeping when the storm hit and said he woke up in the woods, Jackson said.
“Looks like a tornado hit it,” Jackson said, though he cautioned that a tornado hadn’t been confirmed.
Mayor of Atmore told AL.com that a barn belonging to the Poarch Band of the Creek Indians was also damaged.
Another expert said the storm could have been a “straight-line wind” event, which features high winds but without the spinning pattern of a tornado.
Later Friday, the National Weather Service Tallahassee Posted tornado and thunderstorm warnings for parts of southwestern Georgia and Florida begging as the storms continued, their easterly direction swept across the Deep South.
The possibility of a strong tornado, as well as a potentially long tornado, was mentioned by the Storm Prediction Center.
On the north side of Friday’s risk zone, salute the size of a baseball or the most worried forecasters.
Cities to watch Friday include Paducah, Kentucky, Nashville, Tennessee, Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama, Atlanta, New Orleans and Tallahassee, Florida.
On Saturday, as the storm system moves east, 12 million people are at risk of severe thunderstorms in two areas.
The first encompasses locations in the southeast and mid-Atlantic where damaging winds and a few tornadoes will be possible from northern Florida to southeast Virginia.
The second zone included parts of the Interior Northeast, especially from central Pennsylvania to central New York for strong gusty winds.
Cities to watch Saturday in both regions include Savannah, Georgia, Charleston, South Carolina, Wilmington, Delaware, Norfolk, Virginia and Binghamton, New York.
The second round of severe thunderstorms will again affect the southern level Monday through Wednesday, and this is expected to be the larger of the two rounds.
It could also be accompanied by a risk of flash flooding.
Meteorologists stressed Friday that while details have yet to be better defined regarding the ingredients of next week’s severe thunderstorms, all hazards, including tornadoes, very large hail and damaging winds, appear likely at this time.
With such a volatile pattern on the horizon, meteorologists are giving an early look at these areas ahead of next week. They encouraged all concerned in the path of the storm threat to use the weekend to prepare and review all severe weather plans.
Steve Strouss contributed.