April 19, 2019 / 7:52 AM / a month ago

Deadly storm knocks out power in U.S. South, threatens east coast

(Reuters) - Severe storms that killed three people in the U.S. South moved eastward on Friday, causing widespread power outages and threatening tornadoes along the east coast from Pennsylvania to Florida, forecasters said.

The storm took a hard aim at Florida and Georgia on Friday morning, knocking out power in more than 150,000 homes and businesses across those two states, according to poweroutage.us.

“The severe thunderstorms will impact the deep South and southeastern U.S., through Georgia and the Florida panhandle, before it heads up the Atlantic Coast,” National Weather Service (NWS) meteorologist Bob Oravec said early Friday.

The storm system put much of the east coast on tornado watch by midday on Friday, from the Pennsylvania-Maryland border to Florida. The thunderstorms and tornado threats were expected to pass later Friday evening, said NWS meteorologist Bryan Jackson.

On Thursday, the storm turned deadly in the U.S. South, killing two people in Mississippi and one in Alabama.

One person was killed in Neshoba County, Mississippi after a tree fell on his vehicle on Thursday afternoon, local paper the Neshoba Democrat reported. A second person was reported dead in St. Clair County, Mississippi, after a tree fell on a home late Thursday, according to AccuWeather.

A third person was killed in Wattsville, Alabama, late Thursday after a tree fell on a home, the weather service reported.

The deaths come in the wake of at least five people, including three children, who were killed last weekend in a storm system that drove more than three dozen tornadoes across the U.S. South.

Communities in central Texas and western Louisiana, already hit by flash floods and twisters in the first round last weekend, were hit once more by high winds, twisters, egg-sized hail and intense rain Thursday and Friday, according to AccuWeather and the NWS.

Reporting by Rich McKay and Gabriella Borter; Editing by Mark Potter and Marguerita Choy

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