At least 1 person killed, hundreds of thousands without power after tornado-spawning storms hit the Southeast and Ohio Valley
(CNN) — Severe tornado-spawning storms battered the Southeast and Ohio Valley, leaving at least one person dead and nearly 500,000 homes and businesses without power across multiple states.
The death was reported after severe storms slammed Martin County in southern Indiana, Sunday, emergency management officials told The New York Times. Another person was injured and rescuers were still searching for anyone else who may be in need of assistance, Martin County Emergency Management Director Monty Wolf told the Times.
And a possible twister damaged dozens of homes in Bargersville, Indiana, where residents were warned they could be without power for the next two days.
Power outages were also impacting a large swath of the South, including more than 100,000 customers each in Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas as of Monday morning, according to PowerOutage.us.
As the storm system pushes east, more than 90 million people are under the threat of severe weather Monday. A level 3 of 5 “enhanced” risk is highlighted for the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, where multiple rounds of thunderstorms are possible later in the day. Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Raleigh, North Carolina, are included in the enhanced risk area.
A level 2 of 5 “slight” risk area includes New York City, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Columbia, South Carolina, while Boston, Atlanta and Montgomery, Alabama, are under a level 1 “marginal” risk. Damaging winds and hail are the main threats through Monday evening, but tornadoes are possible.
Very large hail, potentially more than 2 inches in diameter, will threaten the central Carolinas and parts of South Dakota, Nebraska and Wyoming on Monday.
An area from Oklahoma to Mississippi and an area that includes parts of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles into New Mexico could see severe thunderstorms Monday, with the main threat being damaging winds.
The storm system on Sunday produced nearly 400 storm reports across a dozen states, including four reported tornadoes, 280 wind reports and more than 100 hail events.
The storms come as nearly 40 million people from Arizona to Alabama are sweltering under a heat wave that is expected to spread and continue through the beginning of the July 4 holiday week.
Extreme heat in Texas contributed to at least two deaths Friday at the remote Big Bend National Park, where temperatures reached 119 degrees.
At least 75 homes near Indianapolis were damaged
In Bargersville, a severe storm cut a path of destruction roughly three miles long, Bargersville Fire Chief Eric Funkhouser said.
One of the Bargersville fire houses “witnessed the tornado going just north of the fire house” around 4:15 p.m. then reports began rolling in of homes collapsing and damage throughout the area, Funkhouser said.
At least 75 homes were left with moderate to severe damage “from the tornado being on the ground,” Funkhouser said, adding that the storm “took down the apartment complex that was under construction.”
No serious injuries were reported in Bargersville as of Sunday evening, according to the fire chief.
“This is the second tornado to hit Johnson County in the last three months,” Funkhouser said. “It’s amazing to have two tornadoes to come through, that were on the ground for that amount of time in Johnson County and for us to be able to hopefully – once we get through this – find out there were minor injuries only.”
Videos posted on social media showed a funnel-shaped cloud ripping through buildings as debris flew around it. Several houses could later be seen with their roofs ripped off.
“Given the photos and videos that we’ve seen, it’s virtually certain it was a tornado. We will be sending a survey team to make a final determination tomorrow,” National Weather Service Indianapolis Meteorologist Joseph Nield told CNN on Sunday.
Bargersville is about 17 miles south of Indianapolis and is located in Johnson County.