Storms struck several US states that fell trees and power lines, and damaged vehicles, homes and other buildings.
At least two people were killed in storms in the southern United States, authorities said on Saturday when strong winds toppled trees, turned vehicles and smashed houses and other buildings in several states.
A 27-year-old man was killed in St. Landry Parish, Louisiana, when a tornado hit a home, local television news agency KLFY reported on Saturday.
Seven other people were also injured and several vehicles were damaged by the strong wind.
Another man, 48, was killed when high winds partially crushed a motor home in Caddo Township, also in Louisiana, on Friday, the local sheriff’s office said.
High winds were also reported in parts of Florida and Mississippi, tearing down power lines and damaging several buildings.
“A lot of people said, ‘Hey, we know what to do. Unfortunately, we’ve been through it before and they have come together as a community, “Panama City, Florida Mayor Mark Sheldon told local news channel The Panama City News Herald.
In Orange Beach, on the Alabama Gulf Coast, a 4-inch hail was reported Saturday morning – “near the size of a softball,” said the Alabama mobile weather service.
“Looking back on the records since 1950, this is only the second documented 4” hail reports “in the 20 counties in which the agency operates, according to Facebook.
The storms come just days after Colorado State University experts warned the U.S. should prepare for a sixth year of above-average Atlantic hurricanes this season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.
In a closely watched outlook released Thursday, forecasters said the country could see 17 named storms and eight hurricanes.
“We are forecasting an above-average hurricane season,” said Colorado scientist Philip Klotzbach.
Last year the US had a record of 30 named storms.
On Friday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Climate Prediction Center announced it had increased its averages for the Atlantic hurricane season from 12 to six previously named storms and seven hurricanes to 14.
The center said it made the change based on the most recent 30-year reporting period from 1991 to 2020.
The increase “reflects a very busy time over the past 30 years,” a statement said, and may be linked to better observation tools or “due to the warming of the ocean and atmosphere affected by climate change”.