At Least Nine Dead as Storms Batter Southern US

First responders are searching for any trapped survivors and any additional victims after a massive storm system hit the southern US on Thursday, killing at least seven people in Alabama and two people in Georgia, including a 5-year-old boy.

At Least Nine Dead as Storms Batter Southern US
Image credit: usatoday

Facts

  • First responders are searching for any trapped survivors and any additional victims after a massive storm system hit the southern US on Thursday, killing at least seven people in Alabama and two people in Georgia, including a 5-year-old boy.
  • Nationwide, there were 33 separate tornado reports on Thursday from the National Weather Service as tornado warnings blared in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina through Thursday evening.
  • Some of the worst damage came from what the National Weather Service described as a "large and extremely dangerous tornado" that destroyed homes and uprooted trees in Selma, Ala., and surrounding areas.
  • According to meteorology experts, three factors — a natural Niña weather cycle, warming of the Gulf of Mexico, and a decades-long shift of tornadoes from the west to east — came together to make Thursday’s tornado outbreak unusual and damaging.
  • The storm prompted states of emergency in stricken areas of Alabam and Georgia to help with response and recovery efforts.
  • The storms in the southeastern US marked the nation's latest barrage of severe weather to turn deadly, as storms and severe flooding have also battered California for weeks, leaving at least 18 dead.

Sources: CNN, PBS NewsHour, USA Today, Guardian, and CBS.

Narratives

  • Narrative A, as provided by NPR Online News. Human-caused climate change is causing the weather around the world to become more extreme and more deadly. Climate change is driving unprecedented heat waves, floods, storms, and droughts. The "weather weirding" of these unusual tornadoes is another sign that Earth's thermostat must be turned down immediately.
  • Narrative B, as provided by Financial Times. It's easy to dismiss any extreme weather event as a consequence of climate change, but in reality, they're usually influenced by a myriad of factors that have nothing to do with it. More research is needed before we can establish any direct causal link between the two.