Environment & Science

Possible flash floods in parts of the South, amid wave of severe weather

Lightning illuminates a house after a possible tornado touched down in Jefferson County, Ala., damaging several houses on Friday in Birmingham, Alabama.
Lightning illuminates a house after a possible tornado touched down in Jefferson County, Ala., damaging several houses on Friday in Birmingham, Alabama.
Butch Dill/AP

Parts of the South are facing possible flash floods, even as they survey the damage from a wave of severe weather that killed at least 15 people across Tennessee, Mississippi, and Arkansas.

The National Weather Service says flash flooding is "possible today from the Southern Plains, the middle Mississippi Valley and into the Lower Great Lakes region – remaining over the Southern Plains and middle Mississippi Valley for Sunday."

National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Stefkovich tells our colleagues at Alabama Public Radio that, "we have a number of storm systems coming through, in fact we expect more rain going into Sunday night and into Monday, so that's only going to make things worse."

This comes after two possible tornados on Christmas Day outside Birmingham, Alabama. NPR's Newscast Unit reported that Birmingham Mayor William Bell says the city is working with the Red Cross and the Baptist Association to provide shelter for people who need it.

Here's more from NPR member station WBHM in Alabama:

"National Weather Service crews will assess damage Saturday morning in southwest Birmingham and east Tuscaloosa, locations where tornadoes possibly touched down Christmas Day as storms roared through the state.

'We know there were two possible tornadoes, but we will not for sure until we look at the damage,' said Jason Holmes, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service office in Chilton County."

A Birmingham police spokesman told The Associated Press that "people were trapped inside damaged houses, adding that several people were taken to hospitals for treatment of minor injuries."

On Thursday, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley issued a State of Emergency for all Alabama counties due to the flooding:

"'Many parts of Alabama have experienced excessive rainfall and flooding is a major concern,' Governor Robert Bentley said. 'By issuing a State of Emergency, I have directed all state agencies to take necessary actions to be prepared to respond to the anticipated flooding across Alabama. We will actively monitor the flooding, and are prepared to respond to any requests for assistance.'"

The statement added that "roads and bridges in many places have washed out."

You can find our earlier story on the extreme weather that has hit parts of the South and Midwest this week here.

Other parts of the country face possible storms and blizzards Saturday.

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