57 Million Americans in Tornado Zone, Severe Winds and Floods Possible

Tornadoes and other severe weather conditions are possible for more than half a million Americans later this week, spanning the states of Texas, Missouri, and the Carolinas.

Recent storms swept across Maury County, Tennessee, causing one death and four injuries, according to Maury Regional Health.  Tennessee, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, and Kansas are the five states where seven tornadoes have been recorded so far.  Since Monday, the tornado danger has persisted, with over 60 tornadoes confirmed across numerous states.

On Wednesday, conditions were ideal for supercell storms (which may produce tornadoes) when a line of storms formed in Missouri and moved westward into western Kentucky and southern Illinois. At least ten states, spanning from Kentucky to Texas, have issued tornado watches that will remain in effect until midnight Central Time.

A tornado emergency was declared Wednesday evening for several counties in central Tennessee, south of Nashville, by the National Weather Service (NWS) after the location of a destructive tornado close to Spring Hill.

Since its inception in 1999, the National Weather Service has only ever declared a tornado emergency when there is an immediate or continuing danger to human life or severe property damage.

The lowlands of Tennessee and Ohio are also under a flood watch until early Thursday due to the torrential rain that the storms are expected to bring.  A major thunderstorm watch will remain in place until 10 PM local time across the Carolinas, and the threat of severe thunderstorms extends eastward.

A devastating EF4 tornado touched down near Barnsdall, Oklahoma, on Monday in a string of dozens of twisters that have been recorded across the Ohio Valley and Plains this week.

According to the NWS, a tornado classified as EF-2 made landfall near the city of Portage, Michigan, on Tuesday. Multiple houses were damaged in two separate mobile home parks. Several large structures also took a hit, including a large FedEx plant among them.

Significant damage may be caused by an EF-2 tornado, which has wind speeds estimated to be between 111 and 135 mph. Tornadoes may turn lightweight debris into missiles that can do more damage. They can move the foundations of structures, shatter or uproot large trees, lift cars off the ground, and rip the roofs from houses.

On the night of May 7th, a tornado emergency was declared for the first time in Michigan, in Union City. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proclaimed a state of emergency over portions of the state.