The Latest: Motorists told to avoid SC interstate

ATLANTA (AP) — The Latest on severe weather in the South (all times local):

3:25 p.m.

Motorists are being urged to avoid a major interstate that runs through South Carolina after a line of storms downed trees and left roadways scattered with debris.

Video posted on Twitter on Friday by the South Carolina Highway Patrol shows parts of Interstate 26 in Orangeburg County littered with large tree limbs. One lane of eastbound traffic was open but moving slowly. The interstate is the main artery from South Carolina’s Upstate through Columbia and all the way to Charleston.

Many parts of South Carolina remain under tornado watches and warnings as the storm system moves through the state.


1:40 p.m.

A storm system moving through the South is being blamed for the death of an 8-year-old girl in Florida.

The Leon County Sheriff’s Office says a tree fell Friday into a house in Woodville south of Tallahassee, killing the girl and injuring a 12-year-old boy.

The office said in a statement that the girl died at the hospital while the boy has non-life-threatening injuries. Their names weren’t immediately released.

Much of Florida was being hit Friday by strong storms that were also creating a threat of tornadoes in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia.


1:15 p.m.

A storm system moving through Georgia has knocked down trees, caused minor flooding and cut off power to thousands of residents.

Georgia power companies reported that more than 37,000 customers were without power around the state Friday afternoon.

A tree came down on an apartment complex in an Atlanta suburb. Gwinnett County fire spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that people were inside at the time, but only one person reported a minor injury and was treated at the scene.

In Forsyth County northeast of Atlanta, Fire Department Division Chief Jason Shivers told the newspaper three firefighters suffered minor injuries when their firetruck overturned during heavy rain and wind.

The storm system was expected to hit the Carolinas and Virginia later, bringing the possibility of tornadoes to parts of those states.


1:15 p.m.

Meteorologists say they have a high level of confidence that a tornado touched down in western Virginia.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Phil Hysell in Blacksburg said Friday that the damage on the ground still must be assessed. But he said radar readings appear to show a tornado formed in Franklin County, which is south of Roanoke.

The National Weather Service has been warning Virginians of heavy rain that can hide the tornadoes and of quarter-sized hail.

The Martinsville Bulletin reported that people saw some buildings that were damaged. The storms have also knocked down trees and power lines.


10:15 a.m.

Storms roaring through the South have smashed a daily record for rainfall in Little Rock, Arkansas.

The National Weather Service says more than 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) of rain fell in the capital city Thursday.

Thursday’s downpour caused flash flooding and prompted the closure of several schools in Pulaski and Saline counties. The storm system that drenched central Arkansas also killed two Mississippi drivers and a woman in Alabama and left more than 100,000 people without power across Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

It’s now rumbling through Georgia.


9:40 a.m.

Forecasters say the area at highest risk of severe storms and tornadoes Friday is home to 9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia and includes the Charlotte, North Carolina metro area.

The national Storm Prediction Center says that area will be at moderate risk of severe weather and tornadoes will be possible Friday.

The National Weather Service in Raleigh, North Carolina, says that “torrential downpours,” large hail and a few tornadoes are among the hazards.

Strong storms were rumbling through Georgia on Friday, after killing two Mississippi drivers and a woman in Alabama and leaving more than 100,000 people without power across Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.


9 a.m.

Strong storms are roaring across the South on Friday, after killing two Mississippi drivers and a woman in Alabama and leaving more than 100,000 people without power across Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.

The threat Friday shifted to Georgia, where multiple tornado warnings covered parts of northeast Georgia. There were no immediate reports of any damage from those storms, but the tornado threat was expected to continue well into the day in the Carolinas and Virginia.

National Weather Service forecasters said they believe multiple tornadoes hit southwest and central Mississippi on Thursday, although they won’t be sure until the damage is surveyed. Heavy winds also were reported in Louisiana earlier in the day and in central Alabama as the system quickly pushed eastward.

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