Tornado in Florida Panhandle Kills 2, Destroys Several Homes

A tornado touched down Thursday morning in Florida's panhandle, killing two people and injuring several others as strong storm systems moved through much of the South.

The two people who were killed were inside the same mobile home, according to Mark Wool, a warning coordination meteorologist for the Weather Service. There are reports of destroyed homes, toppled trees and downed power lines caused by the storm, according to The News Herald.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings through parts of the South on Wednesday into Thursday. The line of powerful storms left a trail of severe damage in its path and was moving toward the Northeast and portions of the Midwest on Thursday, possibly bringing strong winds, hail and tornadoes.

The Washington County, Florida, Sheriff's Office said the tornado touched down near Gilberts Mill Road and the surrounding areas. Photos posted on Facebook by the sheriff's office showed power lines and trees blocking the road and what appears to be extensive debris and scattered pieces of wood. It's unknown at this time what the tornado's classification was on the Enhanced Fujita, or EF, scale.

The NWS Storm Prediction Center said it received 37 reports of tornadoes on Wednesday and Thursday, as well as over 250 reports of strong winds and 10 reports of hail.

At least two tornadoes were reported in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama, and a twister hit Montevallo University with at least one reported injury, according to the Weather Channel. More than 30,000 people in the state experienced power outages likely caused by the severe weather.

In Arkansas, an EF-3 tornado touched down in Springdale, about 145 miles northwest of Little Rock. The tornado was initially categorized as an EF-2 but was upgraded after reaching peak winds of 145 mph. The tornado was on the ground for 5.2 miles, and its path was over 1,000 feet wide, according to the NWS. At least seven people were injured and taken to nearby hospitals, with two in critical condition.

Two suspected tornadoes, including one confirmed on radar, hit the area of Lacombe, Louisiana, which had seen an EF-1 tornado just nine days earlier. The newest reports said there were downed trees and power lines but no initial reports of structural damage. No injuries have been reported at this time, according to the Weather Channel.

In Mississippi, a tornado touched down in the state's capital on Wednesday evening. Local news station WAPT caught the twister on camera during a newscast. There have been no reported injuries, but the tornado knocked down a utility pole near Jackson State University, the station said.

In the event of a tornado warning, the NWS advises individuals to head into a basement of a home or an interior room away from windows. If you're outside or in a vehicle, try to find shelter in a building immediately. If you can't make it to a safe location, find a low-lying area such as a ditch and cover your head.

Update 3/31/22, 11:17 a.m. ET: This article was updated with additional information.

Florida Tornado Kills Two
A tornado touched down Thursday morning in Florida's panhandle, killing two people and injuring several others as strong storm systems moved through much of the South. Above, a house in Jackson, Mississippi, was heavily damaged by a downed tree during severe weather that moved through the city on Wednesday, March 30. Barbara Gauntt/The Clarion-Ledger/AP Photo