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2 people dead in Florida tornado

Line of storms tore through South, East over 2 days

Tornado damage in Alford, Florida, Mar. 31, 2022. (Photo: Washington County, Florida Sheriff's Office)

A line of thunderstorms that stretched nearly 800 miles from Louisiana to southern Indiana packed destructive winds and scattered tornadoes, killing at least two people and damaging many homes and businesses Wednesday. This was only one week after multiple EF3 tornadoes wreaked havoc around New Orleans and parts of Texas.


Related: 7 people injured in Arkansas tornado


Then, two people were killed and two others were injured early Thursday morning when a tornado touched down just west of Tallahassee, near the town of Alford in the Florida Panhandle, according to local emergency management officials and The Associated Press. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office shared photos on Facebook showing the aftermath of the deadly twister, which toppled trees and tore down power lines. One home was completely obliterated. Trees were seen on top of another home that was photographed.

The National Weather Service office in Tallahassee assigned the storm a preliminary EF-rating and tweeted that it will send a team to survey the damage Friday and provide a summary of the tornado’s track.

At least three tornadoes have been confirmed by the NWS from the storms that raced across several states Wednesday, and two dozen tornado reports were filed over that time. Nearly 185,000 customers across parts of five states were without power Thursday morning from the severe weather, according to PowerOutage.us.

The flurry of tornadoes Wednesday added to what could end up being a historically active month of March in terms of tornadoes reported in the U.S. Prior to Wednesday, the month of March was on the cusp of breaking the record for the most preliminary tornado reports in the calendar’s third month, with 187 preliminary reports tallied.



Related: Weather tales from the road: Trucker’s storm encounters no joke


Severe storms continued in the Eastern U.S. on Thursday but were not as widespread as they were in the South. The NWS received four tornado reports — three from North Carolina and one from Pennsylvania — as well as nearly 90 wind damage reports from Florida to New York.

One of the reports said, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, that a tractor-trailer “was forced off I-10 due to a possible tornado — unknown amount of diesel spilled.”

Trees and power lines were blown down and buildings were damaged or destroyed in many other areas Thursday.

A few severe storms could develop this weekend in the Florida Peninsula, but the overall risk across the South and East is fading.

Other notable weekend weather

Look for light rain and snow in the Northeast on Friday, then again Sunday. In between, rain and snow will move through the Great Lakes region.

Thunderstorms may come back to the Plains Friday afternoon and evening, with another potential severe outbreak from the Plains into the South next week.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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Nick Austin

Nick is a meteorologist with 20 years of forecasting and broadcasting experience. He was nominated for a Midsouth Emmy for his coverage during a 2008 western Tennessee tornado outbreak. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University, as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from the Georgia Tech. Nick is a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in February 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” eight consecutive years.