BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Hundreds of schools, COVID-19 vaccination clinics, businesses and more closed down across the Deep South as forecasters warned of waves of severe weather, including massive tornadoes, downpours and hail the size of tennis balls.
The National Weather Service reported nearly two dozen twisters on Wednesday.
“A significant tornado outbreak is expected with numerous strong and a few long-track, potentially violent tornadoes,” wrote the NWS.
Forecasters say at least two waves of storms are likely, and the worst might not hit until a cold front passes overnight.
On Thursday, the NWS says an outbreak of severe storms and tornadoes is possible from parts of east-central Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
“Significant tornadoes, wind damage and large hail will be possible from morning into afternoon. Severe thunderstorms will also be possible from parts of the eastern Gulf Coast into the southern and central Appalachians,” the NWS wrote.
For those in the path of the storms, the NWS is offering helpful information about what to do in the case of a tornado. Officials say having a plan and acting quickly are keys to staying safe.
The time to find and plan your #SafePlace is now, before the warning is issued. Know where you'll go to take shelter once the warning is issued. https://t.co/iV7fVwzXKE pic.twitter.com/TT3sm8XXQD
— National Weather Service (@NWS) March 17, 2021
If tornadoes are forecast in your area, shelter safely with these tips:
🔸 Go into an interior room like a basement or closet.
🔸 Stay away from windows, doors & outside walls.
🔸 Outside? Don't get under a bridge. You’re safer in a low, flat location.https://t.co/NLHlwi7XD5 pic.twitter.com/ZLYoCcTxMI
— Readygov (@Readygov) March 17, 2021
Need a quick overview of today's severe weather threat? Check out this video to get the latest details (Information is valid as of ~9:30 AM CDT.) pic.twitter.com/J5coQcHnOJ
— NWS Storm Prediction Center (@NWSSPC) March 17, 2021