The National Weather Service issued tornado watches and warnings for several southern states on Friday, as portions of Florida and Alabama reported widespread damage from severe storms. The storm system, created by a cold front colliding with a moist and warm airmass, is expected to move up the East Coast, reaching northern New England by Sunday, according to the NWS.
Friday’s tornado warnings were for portions of Alabama, Florida and Georgia, with the NWS warning that the greatest threat for tornadoes was near the Alabama-Florida border.
On Friday afternoon, the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office in Alabama reported six people were transported to local hospitals with injuries due to the severe weather. Officials warned residents to stay out of the area while agencies responded to damaged homes.
“We are so thankful to report, that no one was killed or severely injured, this morning when the severe weather struck a mobile home park in the Poarch Community / area north of Atmore. There were a few injuries,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement Friday.
In Florida, downed power lines and trees from the weather caused road closures, the Okaloosa Sheriff’s Department reported. No serious injures have been reported.
The system also brought an enhanced risk of severe thunderstorms to southeast Mississippi, southern and central Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle. The NWS added there is a slight risk of severe storms from the central Gulf Coast to southern Indiana. Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for portions of Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
In Jackson, Mississippi, residents were encouraged to prepare for strong and gusty winds gusts of up to 40 miles per hour that could break trees and make vehicles unsteady while driving.
On Saturday, the system will arrive on the East Coast. States from New York to as far south as northern Florida could see severe weather, including isolated flash flooding, the NWS said.
Meanwhile, northern New England is expected to get a wintry mix by the end of the weekend as precipitation from the Midwest and Great Lakes moves east, and the severe system from the South completes its march up the East Coast.