South Braces for Second Wave of Storms After 2 Deaths


A ferocious cycle of storms that was blamed for at least two deaths on Tuesday was expected to continue across the Southeast on Wednesday, placing nearly 14 million in the path of severe weather that forecasters said could produce more tornadoes.

A large section of the region that includes the cities of Atlanta; Birmingham, Ala.; and Chattanooga, Tenn., faced an enhanced risk of severe thunderstorms that the National Weather Service said could create damaging wind gusts and hail.

The threat came a day after more than 40 tornadoes were reported across the South, according to forecasters, who said that warmer-than-usual water temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico were likely to contribute to more storm systems. In some parts of the Gulf, the water temperature ranged from 77 degrees to 83 degrees, which forecasters said was about 4 to 5 degrees above average for this time of year.

The dew point, a measure of mugginess, surpassed 70 degrees in the region, further fueling the volatile weather, forecasters said.

Some of the areas that were struck by storms on Tuesday could be at risk once again, extending an onslaught that resulted in a record for confirmed tornadoes in March, Jonathan Porter, the chief meteorologist for AccuWeather, said on Wednesday.

“It’s sort of a one-two punch,” Mr. Porter said. “The ingredients are once again in place for another dangerous afternoon across the southeast.” He added that he would urge “people to take all warnings seriously.”

On Tuesday, a 71-year-old man in Whitehouse, Texas, about 110 miles southeast of Dallas, was killed when a downburst brought a tree down on his mobile home, the authorities said.

The National Weather Service estimated that downbursts, powerful winds that descend from thunderstorms, reached 100 miles per hour in the area.

“We lost a citizen of Whitehouse, and we’re in mourning over that loss,” Mayor James Wansley, that city’s mayor, said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Meteorologists warned that downbursts should be taken seriously.

“It can be just as much risk to life and property,” Mr. Porter said. “They’re just as a dangerous as a tornado.”

In Bryan County, Ga., which is near Savannah, the coroner confirmed that at least one person was killed on Tuesday when a suspected tornado hit the area, local media outlets reported.

Gov. Brian P. Kemp of Georgia surveyed the storm damage in Bryan County on Wednesday. “Please continue to pray with us for all who were impacted by this devastating storm,” he wrote on Twitter.





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