South slammed by multiple tornadoes

Editor's note: This article was updated April 14 to report additional details about the severity and extent of the severe weather system that affected several southern states on April 12 and 13.

Severe storms including as many as 40 reported tornadoes swept through several Southeastern states on April 12 and 13, killing at least 32 people, devastating a Louisiana airport, and plunging an estimated 1.3 million people into darkness.

Photo courtesy of the city of Monroe, Louisiana, via Twitter.

Homes and business by the hundreds were destroyed across the region, according to news reports, and many customers remained without electricity on April 14 as the recovery effort proceeded.

In Louisiana, where Gov. John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency, Monroe Regional Airport in the northern part of the state was closed after the storm struck on Easter Sunday, destroying aircraft and damaging structures.

“It’s impressive what Mother Nature can do,” said U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-La.) in a Weather Channel interview after he surveyed damage and tweeted images of business jets strewn among storm debris at the airport in the city of Monroe—historic as the headquarters of Delta Air Lines until 1941.

Abraham, who is a physician, noted that the storm-spawned crisis “on top of the corona [virus] crisis” was “very tough” for residents. “I've been in contact with leaders on the federal, state, and local level about what can be done to repair the damage and make the community whole again,” he tweeted.

In Georgia, where an estimated 14 tornadoes touched down, Upson County suffered heavy damage, with the emergency manager reporting damage near the Thomaston-Upson County Airport.

In South Carolina, news photos showed general aviation aircraft flipped and buildings damaged at Lowcountry Regional Airport in Walterboro, where at least 12 aircraft were reported destroyed when tornado-related winds struck the airport on April 13.

According to news reports, at least six people died in Georgia, including five who lost their lives when a tornado struck a mobile home park.

Many of the storm fatalities occurred in Mississippi, where the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency confirmed 12 deaths and multiple injuries from the severe weather that struck the state on April 12. A state of emergency was in effect and more than 37,000 residents were without power. With 18 counties reporting damage so far, the agency reminded residents that a coronavirus pandemic-related statewide shelter-in-place order remained in effect.


Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 35-year AOPA member.
Topics: Weather

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