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Severe Weather in the South: Here’s What to Know

Five tornadoes touched down in Mississippi and at least one tornado struck in South Carolina on Tuesday as meteorologists and emergency officials braced for another round of unsettling storms in parts of the South on Wednesday, following a recent pattern of unpredictable weather in the region.

In Texas, local officials said a 71-year-old man was killed in Whitehouse, about 100 miles southeast of Dallas, when a tree fell on his home Tuesday morning during a storm.

The National Weather Service in Jackson, Miss., confirmed five tornadoes in parts of Scott, Newton, Jefferson Davis and Covington Counties on Tuesday morning. Survey crews were continuing to assess other sections of the state, the Weather Service said.

Nearly five million people in the South, from the Florida Panhandle through southeastern Georgia and southern South Carolina, had been under an enhanced threat of severe weather on Tuesday, the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center said.

Wednesday promises to bring another round of turbulent weather, the Weather Service said, with severe thunderstorms likely across the Southeast and tornadoes again a possibility. Birmingham, Ala., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Atlanta will be under enhanced risk of severe storms packing heavy rain and damaging winds.

A tornado touched down near Allendale, S.C., just before 4 p.m. on Tuesday, according to the Weather Service office in Charleston, S.C. It was not immediately clear if there were any injuries. A video circulating on social media showed a large plume in the background as two people rushed to safety.

The Weather Service office in Birmingham, Ala., also reported “several potential tornado tracks” from Tuesday’s storms. A survey crew was on its way to Wetumpka, Ala., to assess the damage there, and another crew will be dispatched on Wednesday morning, the Weather Service said.

Steve Miller, a meteorologist with the Weather Service’s office in Mobile, Ala., which covers some counties in Mississippi, described the weather system earlier on Tuesday as “a line of thunderstorms,” also known as a squall line, a group of storms arranged in a line with high winds and heavy rain.

The storms began early in the day in Mississippi, where there were reports of flash flooding on roadways, large hail and downed trees. Storm debris blocked both directions of U.S. Highway 80 in Newton County, according to the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

The Weather Service said a new daily rainfall record of nearly four and a half inches was set in Hattiesburg, the most rain the city has seen in one day since 1937.

Parts of Texas started the week with a round of severe thunderstorms that set off a wave of warnings that lasted into early Tuesday around the Fort Worth area.

In eastern Texas, W.M. Soloman, 71, was killed Tuesday morning when a tree fell on his home in Whitehouse, near Tyler, the city’s mayor, James Wansley, said in a statement. The “menacing storm” brought down trees and power lines, and cut off electricity for some households, Mr. Wansley said. The Whitehouse Independent School District canceled classes on Tuesday.

By early Tuesday, more than 23,000 people in Texas were without power, mostly in East Texas, according to PowerOutage.us, which aggregates data from utilities across the United States.

Around 11 p.m. local time on Monday, meteorologists for the Weather Service in Fort Worth alerted residents to a strong line of storms. “Seek shelter on the lowest floor in an interior room NOW!” the service said on Twitter, adding that winds could exceed 80 miles per hour. Soon a flash flood warning was in effect for Dallas County, and forecasters warned drivers not to enter flooded roadways. “Turn around, don’t drown!” they said.

A handful of people were rescued from rising waters in McKinney, about 30 miles north of Dallas, on Monday night, the McKinney Fire Department said on Twitter. A team conducted three water rescues, pulling four people to safety after their cars were swept away. No injuries were reported.

Other storm damage was reported farther east, where a number of trees had fallen on homes.

While storms are not uncommon in parts of the South at any time of year, the peak severe weather season in Alabama, Mississippi and Florida is typically during March, April and May, the Weather Service said.

Over the weekend, severe weather disrupted air travel across the United States, forcing airlines to cancel thousands of flights, The Associated Press reported. Southwest Airlines said that a technology issue and “ongoing weather challenges” were to blame for the disruptions.

Last week, at least two people were killed and two others were injured when a line of storms leveled homes in the Florida Panhandle. A tornado in northwestern Arkansas injured at least seven people, two of them critically, and destroyed part of a school.

And last month, a round of violent storms damaged nine mobile homes and injured six people in Alabama, about 50 miles northeast of Mobile.

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