Tornadoes strike across 7 states with more severe weather on the way


(NEW YORK) — The threat for tornadoes continues Thursday following an outbreak of deadly storms throughout the Midwest and South over the past few days.

As of Thursday afternoon, at least 17 tornadoes had been reported in the previous 24 hours across seven states. There have been nearly 100 reported or confirmed tornadoes across 18 states since Monday.

Over 30 million Americans, from Texas to South Carolina, are in the storm zone and can expect to see severe weather Thursday night into early Friday. The tornado threat is lower than it has been during the multiday outbreak — damaging winds and large hail will be the main threat with these storms Thursday — though a couple of tornadoes will still remain possible.

Damaging winds up to 70 mph, scattered hail and a couple of tornadoes will all be possible as a cluster of thunderstorms with a history of producing tornadoes moves through southern Georgia, heading south and east through the evening.

A tornado watch has been issued for South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Florida until 9 p.m. ET Thursday. The cities located in that tornado watch include Jacksonville, Florida; Savannah, Georgia; and Charleston, South Carolina.

In Texas, a cluster of storms is expected to fire up Thursday afternoon and evening then progress west across the Gulf Coast states through the overnight hours. The main threats are significant wind gusts to 85 mph and very large hail up to 4 inches, though a couple of tornadoes cannot be ruled out.

A tornado watch has also been issued for parts of Texas, including Dallas, Waco and Abilene, through 9 p.m. CT Thursday.

The latest severe weather threat comes after three people were killed in storms on Wednesday.

One person died in Claiborne County, the Tennessee Department of Health said. Another person died and four others were injured after storms moved through Maury County, Tennessee, Maury Regional Health said.

A third person died in North Carolina, The Associated Press reported.

The National Weather Service said a tornado that devastated Columbia, Tennessee, on Wednesday was an EF3 with winds up to 140 mph.

A tornado emergency was issued near Huntsville, Alabama, overnight into Thursday, including at least one reported tornado that produced damage.

A flash flood emergency was issued north of Nashville, Tennessee, where some areas got more than 8 inches of rain in just a matter of hours. Water rescues were reported in the area overnight.

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