Dozens of Tornadoes Batter South; Deaths Confirmed in Louisiana, North Carolina; State of Emergency Declared in Virginia

Pam Wright and Ada Carr
Published: April 18, 2018

More than 50 tornadoes left widespread damage as part of a round of weekend severe weather that claimed at least two lives in the South.

A high-end EF2 twister caused damage in Greensboro, North Carolina, on Sunday evening. Photos posted to social media showed debris and structural damage.

The National Weather Service performed a damage survey and determined the tornado had maximum winds of 135 mph and was at least 300 yards wide.

(MORE: Where the Next Round of Severe Storms Could Occur)

Extensive damage was reported in the city, and 48-year-old Anthony George was killed when a tree fell on his vehicle while he drove in northern Greensboro just after 5:45 p.m. Sunday evening, according to the Greensboro News and Record. Two women were injured when their vehicles were struck by the same falling tree, but no other injuries were reported in the city during the storm, the News and Record added.

"I heard the rain but I didn't know (the tornado) was right here in my neighborhood," Greensboro resident T.J. Johnson told the News and Record.

A confirmed EF3 tornado – just the second EF3-or-stronger twister in the U.S. in 2018 – hit Sunday near Lynchburg, Virginia, according to the National Weather Service. Several buildings were damaged in Campbell County, while trees were snapped and cars were flipped. About a dozen people were injured, the NWS also said.

Following the storms, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam declared a state of emergency, and a local emergency was declared in Greensboro.

In Camden County, Georgia, a possible twister uprooted several trees in Harrietts Bluff, about 40 miles north of Jacksonville, Florida.

2-year-old girl was killed Friday at a mobile home park in Haughton, Louisiana, when a tree fell on the RV where she was sleeping, according to the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office. Four adults and a 15-month old were also in the RV but were not injured.

A total of 20 tornadoes were confirmed in 13 Louisiana parishes from Friday and Saturday's storms, according to the NWS.

Florida

The mother of a 2-year-old child had to be rescued with the Jaws of Life Sunday after winds downed a tree onto her mobile home in Jacksonville, ActionNewsJax.com reported. The tree fell into her bedroom, pinning her inside. Her child was not in the room at the time of the incident.

Sunday afternoon, a waterspout was reported near the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in Hillsborough County, Florida, about 13 miles from the city of St. Petersburg, the NWS said. A confirmed tornado left damage in the Florida Keys Sunday night, the AP also said.

The Carolinas

Five people were hospitalized in Reidsville, North Carolina, on Sunday evening after a tree was blown onto a home on Highway 158.

Strong winds destroyed barns and took down trees in Huntersville, North Carolina, some 15 miles from Charlotte, on Sunday. At Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the control tower was evacuated and a ground stop was in place Sunday as the storms struck.

In Troutman, a small town of about 2,500, a person was seriously injured after winds downed a tree onto a wagon carrying 50 people at a local zoo park Friday, ABC11.com reported. The victim was flown to a hospital by helicopter and two others that were injured were picked up by an ambulance, the report added.

Both adults and children were on the wagon at the time of the incident, but it is unclear whether any children were harmed.

In South Carolina, where additional damage was reported, NWS meteorologists confirmed at least two tornadoes – an EF1 in Irmo and an EF0 in Lexington.

Mississippi

The NWS said at least six tornadoes struck the Magnolia State on Saturday 

In Winston County, a person was trapped Saturday inside a vehicle after downed power lines fell on the roof of the vehicle. Several homes were damaged, local emergency management reported. 

A powerful storm Saturday night in Jackson County left some downed trees, according to the NWS.

(MORE: 2016 Tornado's Path Visible on Google Earth)

In Rankin County, an EF1 tornado near Lakeland Drive caused significant damage to trees and minor roof damage.

Significant damage was reported Saturday in Meridian after storms hit around 11 a.m., WTOK.com reported. The NWS later confirmed a tornado caused the damage, and one non-life-threatening injury was reported.

Arkansas

At least 11 tornadoes have been confirmed in Arkansas, including a pair of EF2 twisters – one of which resulted in several injuries and caused significant damage Friday afternoon near Mountainburg in northwest Arkansas, according to the NWS.

An estimated 160 buildings were damaged and numerous trees were downed, emergency crews reported during a press conference Friday evening.

Crawford County Emergency Management Director Brad Thomas said emergency crews responded to three residential entrapments. Three people were rescued and transported to an area hospital, including one who was reportedly unresponsive.

A man was injured when the tornado destroyed his home, and he drove himself to the hospital with injuries to his arms and legs, Thomas said.

(MORE: It's Been Nearly 5 Years Since the Last U.S. EF5 Tornado)

Meanwhile, a pregnant woman at a storm shelter was transported to an area hospital over fears she may have gone into labor.

"We're just glad there were no fatalities," said Mountainburg Police Chief Vincent Clamser, who noted that the most pressing concern was to restore electricity to the more than 3,000 Crawford County customers who lost power during the storm.

In Mountain Hope, a nursing home adjacent to a hospital was reportedly damaged by a possible tornado. No injuries were reported but the damage was severe enough to force the evacuation of the patients and staff. Trees and power lines were downed throughout the city, and there were reports of large pieces of sheet metal in trees.

Students were evacuated from an all-female dormitory at the University of Central Arkansas, in Conway, after the roof of the building was damaged. No injuries were reported.

A confirmed EF1 tornado snapped trees and damaged a church and a garage in Baxter County.

Missouri

Damage was reported Friday north of Norwood, in Wright County, from a confirmed EF1 tornado. One report said a home was destroyed.

Two other tornadoes were confirmed Saturday in Wright County – an EF1 that traveled six miles and an EF2 that remained on the ground for nine miles, both in the Macomb-Norwood area.

A confirmed EF1 tornado damaged a roof, carport, outbuilding and trees about five miles southwest of Success, while a second EF1 tornado was confirmed near Licking that damaged a house and a vacant mobile home and downed numerous trees.


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