Nature really has an effective wake-up service. A strong band of thunderstorms moving across the Deep South early this morning poured out a number of suspected tornadoes, jolting residents from dreamworld into full alertness in a matter of milliseconds.
In Louisiana's swampy St. Helena Parish, a probably twister that formed at 3 a.m. lifted a two-story house from its foundation and moved it 10 to 15 feet away. Amazingly, the family trying to catch some shuteye inside the house escaped unharmed. Here are the money quotes from the Associated Press report, plus a photo of the newly minted fixer-upper:
"Like a big gust of wind, like something I've never heard before," Stephanie Blauvelt said. "I can't believe I even knew to do this, but I ran into the shower."
Her boyfriend made a mad dash through the house with her to the bathroom.
"So, we're all panicking and I feel, never felt it before, but I feel myself get lifted and we're spinning and I'm screaming for him and finally, about a minute later. It didn't last long at all. I get out and we walk out. The lights are out and we can't see anything," Blauvelt explained.
After this fireworks-and-marching-band-worthy debut of the storm, residents of the South began reporting a whole host of tornadic activity. From the Storm Prediction Center's litany of reports: windows blown out in Terrebonne, La.; a "wide swatch" of trees pushed down in Marion, Miss.; four people injured in a wind-battered home in Jones, Miss.; an overturned boat in Demopolis, Ala.; a roof blown off a house in Lawrence, Ala. A tree blasted by powerful gusts fell and killed a man in Georgia, where more than three-quarters of the state is still under tornado watches.
All this damage is being spawned by a cold front moving over the country toward the Mid-Atlantic. One long-track supercell in particular could be responsible for a line of carnage beginning in Louisiana and stretching toward Atlanta. Take a look at the storm reports from today (hat tip to WCNC's Brad Panovich for tweeting this graphic):