Storms Rip Through the South; Thousands Without Power
A huge squall-line, stretching more than 1,200 miles, ripped through a huge area of the south on Thursday night and Friday morning. The storms left significant damage in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which was pummeled with large hail and winds up to 80-mph.
Power outages are still a major concern in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, with more than 150,00 still in the dark as of Friday afternoon, according to the the Oncor power outage map. At one point, 300,000 Texans were without power on Thursday night; with the overwhelming majority of those losses in the Fort Worth area. Another 35,000+ are still without power in Arkansas, many of those outages in the Pine Bluff area.
Additionally, dozens of school districts in the Dallas-Fort Worth area closed their doors on Friday as a result of Thursday’s damage, including over 40 in the Dallas Independent School District. The most striking images of storm damage came from Fort Worth. That’s where a brick wall at the Fort Worth Stockyards blew onto a street, leaving behind rubble on a major street in downtown.
Overall, 279 storm reports came into the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) between Thursday and early Friday morning, with the overwhelming majority of those (233) classified as wind damage. According to the National Weather Service in Forth Worth, numerous wind gusts were measured near hurricane-force, including many in the Fort Worth and Dallas urban areas. The storms then blasted through Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisiana and Alabama before rocking Atlanta’s morning commute with strong, gusty winds and a downpour that produced 0.66″ of rain at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport between 9 and 10 a.m. Friday morning.
Two brief tornadoes were reported to have touched down, both late on Thursday night, but neither is believed to have caused significant damage. One was in far northeast Arkansas near Jonesboro, the other in the ‘bootheel’ of southeastern Missouri.
The good news for the South is the powerful cold front should all but move offshore by Friday night, leaving central and south Florida with a chance for storms early on Saturday. In its wake, temperatures will tumble into the 60s and 70s, the coolest temperatures for much of the region since April, but plenty of sunshine should also return just in time for a full round of college football and NFL games this weekend.
Meteorologist Chris Bianchi