Tornado Watches Issued: Severe Thunderstorms Packing Damaging Winds and a Few Tornadoes Could Threaten the South and East Into Sunday Evening

Chris Dolce
Published: April 15, 2018

Severe thunderstorms, including the threat of damaging winds and a few tornadoes, will spread across the South and East into Sunday evening as a strong spring storm lumbers across the nation.

(MORE: Latest News | Tornado Central)

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has issued the following watch areas:

  • A tornado watch is in effect until 12 a.m. EDT for south-central Virginia. This watch area includes Richmond, Virginia.
  • A tornado watch is in effect until 11 p.m. EDT for central North Carolina, eastern South Carolina and southern Virginia. This watch area includes Raleigh and Durham, North Carolina, Florence, South Carolina, and Lynchburg, Virginia.
  • A tornado watch is in effect until 9 p.m. EDT for parts of southeastern South Carolina. This watch area includes Charleston, South Carolina.

Current Radar, Watches and Warnings

A likely tornado moved through parts of Greensboro, North Carolina, late Sunday afternoon. Tim Buckley, chief meteorologist at WFMY-TV in Greensboro, tweeted, "The tornado literally passed over our studios. Knocked out our cameras. We are on-air with radar. Got our staff to a safe location. We are fine."

If confirmed, that tornado may have been on the ground for more than 15 miles as it moved toward the northeast.

Another tornado was reported near Lynchburg, Virginia, early Sunday evening. In nearby Forest, Virginia, cars were flipped over, several trees were downed and numerous structures were damaged, according to storm spotters and the local fire department.

Earlier Sunday afternoon, a 74-mph wind gust was reported in Columbia, South Carolina, as a severe thunderstorm rumbled through the city.

Damage was seen in Huntersville, North Carolina, Sunday afternoon following the severe thunderstorms. Strong winds reportedly took down multiple trees and a couple of barns, according to the Huntersville Fire Department.

In addition, a possible tornado touched down Sunday afternoon on the west side of St. Petersburg, Florida, where a large oak tree was downed onto a house and heavy damage was observed near the intersection of 14th Avenue South 44th Street South.

This multi-day bout of severe weather first began on Friday with 16 reports of tornadoes in northeastern Texas, northern Louisiana, Arkansas and Missouri. Two tornadoes were confirmed in central Mississippi on Saturday.

The stormy weather is being triggered by a strong cold front that will move through the eastern states into Monday.

Severe Weather Forecast

Into Sunday Evening

  • Bands of rain and thunderstorms will continue moving eastward from southern Virginia to the Carolinas, eastern Georgia and Florida.
  • Some of the storms will turn severe and could produce damaging wind gusts, as well as a few tornadoes. The greatest chance for a few tornadoes appears to be from southwestern Virginia to central and western North Carolina and South Carolina.
  • Flash flooding is also possible, particularly from upstate South Carolina northward to western North Carolina, southwestern Virginia and West Virginia.
  • Cities: Raleigh | Charlotte | Columbia | OrlandoTampa 

(MORE: Check Your 7-Day Severe Weather Forecast)

Sunday-Sunday Night's Thunderstorm Forecast

Storm Reports Since Friday

A 2-year-old girl was killed when a large tree fell on an RV in Louisiana Friday night.

Trees and power lines came down near Brandon, Mississippi, Saturday morning, and a roof was reported to be lifted off a home in Carencro, Louisiana.

An EF2 tornado was confirmed in Macomb, Missouri, where one home was destroyed and numerous trees and outbuildings were damaged.

Near Norwood, Missouri, an EF1 tornado was confirmed with numerous trees uprooted and snapped, and outbuildings were damaged.

An EF1 tornado near Flowood in Rankin County, Mississippi, caused significant tree damage and minor damage to roofs of homes and a few businesses. This tornado was on the ground for a little more than 6 miles. 

An EF2 tornado moved very near Mountainburg, Arkansas, late Friday afternoon. There was damage to several homes and numerous other buildings. Power lines were also downed in the town. 

Another tornado was reported near DeKalb, Texas, or in extreme northeastern Texas near the Oklahoma and Arkansas borders.

The NOAA P3 aircraft, flying as part of the VORTEX-SE severe weather research project, spotted a tornado near Downsville, Louisiana, or northwest of Monroe, Louisiana, early Friday evening. 

A radar-confirmed tornado also touched down near Sterlington, Lousiana, in far northern Louisiana. 

A possible tornado was also reported near Ore City, Texas, with trees uprooted and downed power lines.

A 71-mph wind gust was reported in Eureka, Kansas, on Friday afternoon. No damage was reported in the vicinity. 

Scattered hail was reported from southwestern Iowa through eastern Kansas and eastern Oklahoma Friday afternoon, including reports of golf ball-size hail near Oakland, Iowa, and golf ball-size hail near Mill Creek, Oklahoma. 

Hail up to tennis ball size was reported near Omaha, Arkansas, Friday evening.

There were also several reports of large hail around and north of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, including in Denton and Dorchester, Texas. Wind-blown hail as large as golf ball size was reported between Dallas and Waco Friday evening. 

Severe storms were reported as far north as Iowa Friday evening.

In Iowa, large campers were flipped, power lines were snapped and multiple buildings were damaged by 70- to 80-mph straight-line winds near Jefferson. Wind-driven hail also broke windows in Scranton, Iowa. 

Damage to multiple structures and large pieces of sheet metal in trees were reported in Mountain Home, Arkansas, per the National Weather Service in Little Rock, Arkansas, and local media reports.

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