5 dead in Southeast U.S. tornado outbreak

At least 10 tornadoes touched down on Thursday across the Southeast U.S., leading to at least five storm-related fatalities in Alabama.

What You Need To Know

  • A major tornado outbreak led to at least 10 tornado reports on Thursday
  • Several violent tornadoes in Alabama produced significant damage
  • Storms will continue through the overnight hours
  • Active storms may reach as far north as Ohio

Several tornadoes across Alabama on Thursday led to widespread damage and several fatalities, according to local authorities.

In Calhoun County, Ala., the local sheriff confirmed five tornado-related deaths in the town of Ohatchee.

Several other strong tornadoes led to significant damage across Alabama, including widespread damage on the south and east sides of the state’s largest city, Birmingham.

Tornado-related damage in Birmingham, Ala. on Thursday, March 25, 2021. AP Photo/Butch Dill

The Forecast

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a “high” risk of severe weather in the Deep South, the agency’s highest risk level, just eight days after another high risk. The ingredients for strong tornadoes appear likely in that region, along with powerful wind and large hail.

Severe storms may happen as far north as the Ohio Valley. In that region, the odds of storms being severe are higher over southern Kentucky, tapering down some toward southern Ohio. Those places should still be weather-aware, because the strongest storms will still have the potential to bring damaging winds and tornadoes.

If storms are indeed severe in the Ohio Valley, that would most likely happen in the late afternoon and evening in Kentucky and after dark in Ohio.

Storms will have less punch to them as they move toward the Northeast and East Coast on Friday.

This severe weather episode opened up with storms in Texas Wednesday evening. A few dozen reports of hail of at least an inch in diameter came in, the largest being a three-inch hailstone in Kimble.

Two Weeks of Severe in the South

Severe weather looks to be focused in the same area hit by strong winds and numerous tornadoes just last week. The Storm Prediction Center issued the top threat level, a high risk, over parts of the Deep South on March 17.

While high-end tornadoes thankfully did not materialize, there were still 33 confirmed tornadoes that day. Four of them were rated EF-2. Nearly 80 high wind reports also came in that day.

The same storm system produced 13 more tornadoes from Florida to Virginia the following day, including three in North Carolina.