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Severe weather kills 20, rare ‘high risk’ outlook issued, US

georgia-tornado-high-risk-severe-weather-us-january-22-2017

At least 15 people have died in south Georgia on Sunday, January 22, 2017, after powerful storms swept through the region. After 4 deaths in Mississippi on Saturday and 1 in Florida on Sunday, this makes the death toll from severe weather outbreak across the South rise to 20. According to preliminary SPC number, 19 deaths were caused by tornadoes.

A rare 'high risk' severe weather outlook has been issued today by the Storm Prediction Center: Severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreak is expected from north Florida and south Georga, with a significant severe threat also expected to extend southward into central Florida and northwestward into South Carolina this evening; a few long-track, strong tornadoes will be possible.

An EF3 tornado ripped through a mobile park near Adel, a town of 5 300, in south Georgia's Cook County before dawn on Sunday destroying about 20 of its 40 mobile homes and killing 7 people. Another 4 people died in neighboring counties while at least 23 were injured.

Catherine Howden of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency said that the deaths occurred in Cook, Brooks and Berrien counties near the Georgia-Florida line and that they were related to severe weather but could not specify whether tornadoes were the cause.

Brooks County Coroner Michael Miller said 2 people died after their mobile home got struck by an apparent tornado, which he estimated moved the home roughly 90 m (100 yards).

Another tornado later in the day in Albany resulted in another 4 deaths.

In Berrien County,  the sheriff's office confirmed to the National Weather Service that 2 people died near New Lois, likely in a continuation of the reported tornado that hit Adel, The Weather Channel reported.

Homes and buildings were damaged or destroyed in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and Texas Saturday.

States of emergency have been declared in Georgia and Mississippi.

Read more: Large tornado hits Hattiesburg, Mississippi leaving 4 dead

Severe Weather Outlook - southeast US - January 22, 2017

   ZCZC SPCPWOSPC ALL
   WOUS40 KWNS 221302
   ALZ000-FLZ000-GAZ000-221800-

   PUBLIC SEVERE WEATHER OUTLOOK  
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   0702 AM CST SUN JAN 22 2017

   ...Outbreak of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms expected over
   parts of the north Florida and south Georgia today...

   * LOCATIONS...
     South Georgia
     North Florida
     Extreme southeast Alabama

   * HAZARDS...
     Numerous tornadoes, several intense and long track
     Scattered damaging winds
     Scattered large hail

   * SUMMARY...
     A severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreak is expected today
     across north Florida and south Georgia, with the significant
     severe threat also expected to extend southward into central
     Florida and northeastward into South Carolina this evening. A
     few long-track, strong tornadoes will be possible.

   Preparedness actions...

   Review your severe weather safety procedures for the possibility
   of dangerous weather today. Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio, 
   weather.gov, or other media for watches and warnings. A tornado
   watch means that conditions are favorable for tornadoes to form
   during the next several hours. If a tornado warning is issued for
   your area, move to a place of safety, ideally in a basement or
   interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building.

This is the first high risk severe weather outlook to be issued by SPC since June 3, 2014.

Featured image: Damage after tornado rips through mobile park in south Georgia on January 22, 2017. Credit: Hudgins Photography

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