Storms hit South in prelude to tornado threat later Sunday

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — High winds, hail and heavy rain pounded parts of Alabama on Sunday, as forecasters warned residents to brace for possible tornadoes and flooding later in the day across a wide swatch of the southern United States.

Tornado watches covered a swath of east Texas and large parts of Louisiana and Mississippi on Sunday afternoon. More than 24,000 customers were without electricity early Sunday, according to

It was the second Sunday in a row that the South was hit with severe weather.

Four Alabama counties were under a flash flood warning until 11 a.m. local time because of heavy rain: Bibb, Chilton, Coosa and Shelby, the National Weather Service said. High winds had uprooted trees and left blankets of hail on the ground in some areas, the National Weather Service reported.

“Two to three inches of rain has already fallen and an additional one to two inches is possible,” the agency said on its website.

A second wave of storms was expected to develop Sunday afternoon and bring the risk of strong tornadoes into the evening, the National Weather Service said. Large twisters were a possibility for parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

A zone from the Texas-Louisiana line that extends eastward across the southern parts of Mississippi, Alabama and into Georgia will be at greatest risk of severe weather and tornadoes, the national Storm Prediction Center projected. The area is home to more than 5 million people and includes cities such as Jackson, Mississippi; Montgomery, Alabama; and Macon, Georgia.

A swath of damaging winds and a continued tornado threat will also extend across Georgia and parts of South Carolina through Sunday night.

The storm threat comes a week after Easter storms pounded the Deep South. The National Weather Service said more than 100 tornadoes struck the South that Sunday and Monday. Officials said at least 36 people were killed in the two-day outbreak of storms.