World & Nation

Harvey hits more Southern states: Heavy rains, flood fears, likely tornado in Alabama

Harvey spawns Alabama tornado

Wayne Doss surveys the damage to his cousin Danny Doss’ mobile home, which was destroyed by a tornado in Pickens County, Ala., after a tornado struck Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. The tornado damaged several homes in northwest Alabama as the remnants of Hurricane Harvey came through the state.

(Gary Cosby Jr./The Tuscaloosa News via AP)
Associated Press

Tropical Depression Harvey spun off an apparent tornado that damaged homes in northwest Alabama, scattering debris as what remained of the once-fierce hurricane spread heavy rains over parts of several Southern states.

The storm sent heavy rains for hours over Memphis late Thursday and caused scattered street flooding and power outages in that Tennessee city as area rivers swelled amid a flood threat.

The National Weather Service issued flash flood alerts for much of West Tennessee as the still-potent storm slogged northeastward into the nation’s interior after its catastrophic drenching of parts of Texas and Louisiana. The forecasts called for heavy rains spreading Friday from the lower Mississippi and Tennessee valleys into the Ohio Valley and then to the central Appalachians.

In northwest Alabama, an apparent tornado pummeled several homes near the city of Reform and minor injuries were reported, local news reports said. Jason Holmes, a meteorologist with The National Weather Service in Birmingham, said Thursday that a tornado was likely in the damage in northwest Alabama.


Photographs published online by the Tuscaloosa News in Alabama showed huge trees splintered and toppled, houses with their shingles torn away and one mobile home so shattered it was barely recognizable in the region. Men with chainsaws went out after the storm to clear toppled trees from roads as people surveyed the damage.

Flood warnings were in effect along or near several rivers in West Tennessee, including two leading tributaries of the Mississippi River. Flash flood watches and warnings also stretched into Middle Tennessee. Forecasters said some spots in Tennessee could get more than 10 inches of rain though forecasts called for most areas to get between 4 and 8 inches.

Remnants of the hurricane were expected to spread rain into parts of Kentucky and West Virginia after moving through Tennessee on Friday.

Authorities said Harvey’s remnants contributed to the death of a motorist involved in a head-on crash with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 40 in Memphis on Thursday. The motorist’s name was not immediately released. Police couldn’t immediately be reached for more details.


More than 19,000 customers were without power in Memphis on Thursday evening, according to the utility Memphis, Light, Gas & Water. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency was monitoring the storm, ready to deploy staff and resources. Anticipating stormy weather in Memphis, crews had cleaned debris from storm drains and residents were asked to clear gutters at their homes.

The National Weather Service issued multiple tornado warnings on Thursday afternoon in the region. The Weather Service said there was an elevated risk of tornados into the night as Harvey’s remnants headed northeast. Sirens sounded tornado warnings in Memphis, but no touchdowns by twisters were reported.

Forecaster Marlene Mickelson said about an inch of rain had fallen already in about three hours in east Memphis by late afternoon, and that was followed by heavy rain. Water accumulated in intersections and residential streets in Memphis and its suburbs.

Harvey dumped nearly 52 inches of rain on some parts of the Texas coast.


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