Severe storms blitz the US South again after one of the most active tornado periods in history

Caution tape blocks the path to Florida State University's Flying Circus bleachers that were damaged when the tent above them collapsed during strong weather in Tallahassee, Friday, May 10, 2024. Powerful storms bringing the threat of tornadoes continued to slam several southern states early Friday, as residents cleared debris from deadly severe weather that produced twisters in Michigan, Tennessee and other states. Some of the strongest storms early Friday rolled into Tallahassee. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)

ATLANTA (AP) — More than 15 million people from Texas to Florida were under threat of severe storms and the potential for more tornadoes Monday, many of them in areas previously hit during one of the most active periods for twisters on record.

At highest risk for severe storms and tornadoes was a zone stretching from southeast Texas through much of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast regions of Mississippi and Alabama, and to the Florida Panhandle, according to the national Storm Prediction Center.

Some of the worst weather around midday Monday was in the Florida Panhandle, where a tornado watch was in effect. Roads flooded and stalled vehicles in Escambia County, the National Weather Service reported. There were also flash flood warnings for Alabama’s Gulf Coast, where more than 3 inches (7.6 centimeters) of rain had fallen.

More than 90,000 homes and businesses lacked power across the South on Monday afternoon, with most of them in Florida, Alabama and Mississippi, according to PowerOutage.us.

Monday’s storms come shortly after one of the most active periods of severe weather in U.S. history, from April 25 through May 10, the National Weather Service said in a recent report. At least 267 tornadoes were confirmed by the weather service during that time, the agency said.

Among the many tornadoes: a pair of twisters that caused heavy damage Friday in Florida’s capital, Tallahassee. As the two tornadoes crossed the city from east to west, they damaged homes and businesses, caused a construction crane to collapse, and severely damaged the outfield fence at a baseball stadium at Florida State University, the weather service said.