An intense line of severe storms moved through Mobile County Saturday night, with strong winds barreling through Mobile around 8 p.m.
What may have been a microburst struck the area of The Shoppes of Bel Air shopping mall and Springdale shopping center on Airport Boulevard and Interstate 65. A microburst is an intense, small-scale downdraft produced by a thunderstorm or rain shower.
There is damage at the Burlington Coat Factory store in Airport Boulevard.
Power in the area was knocked out, including traffic signals along Airport Boulevard.
To the north in Clarke County, Emergency Management Agency director Roy Wade asked that people get off the roadways Saturday night. He said responders in Clarke County were actively working three different water rescues, with vehicles having gone off roadways and into creeks.
Wade reports storm damage in Jackson, Grove Hill, Thomasville and Fulton.
That report was followed up by an update after 10 p.m. to inform that a section on U.S. 43 in Thomasville was under six feet of water and that multiple vehicles were in the water, including an 18-wheeler.
Meanwhile, a fire broke out at BAE Systems in downtown Mobile, near the Alabama State Docks, as the strongest weather was moving through the area. Mobile Fire-Rescue reports sending units to the 600 block on Dunlap Street for reports of smoke and flames visible from a generator.
Alabama Power said the line of strong storms brought heavy rain and lightning to the state. As of 9 p.m. there were around 13,500 customers without service statewide. In Mobile County, outages centered around Mobile, Saraland and Citronelle.
By 10 p.m., statewide outages were down to 10,800, with 9,300 of those in Mobile, according to Alabama Power.
FOX10 meteorologist Adam Olivier said he expected the line of storms to reach Baldwin County around 9 p.m. and the Florida Panhandle around 10 p.m., moving completely out of the area around midnight.
The severe storms had been expected to roll through our area earlier Saturday afternoon and evening. But FOX10 Chief Meteorologist Jason Smith said the line stalled at the Alabama-Mississippi line from about noon to about 5 p.m.
Warm, moist air fed into this system. That, along with strong winds and high atmospheric instability, created the conditions for severe weather.
It was severe weather that had already turned deadly while it was still hours away from the Mobile area.
In Louisiana, high winds from this storm system knocked down a tree, which fell onto a trailer, killing a 2-year-old girl. It happened in Haughton, which is near Shreveport.
Another person was killed when a possible tornado hit Meridian, Miss., blowing the roof off an apartment building. Homes and at least two schools were damaged.
In Biloxi, Miss., Saturday, two boats were capsized at the Long Beach Harbour during a tornado warning. Friday in Arkansas, a tornado damaged 150 buildings and injured at least four people.
The main threat in the FOX10 viewing area was predicted to be damaging straight-line winds of 60-plus miles per hour, but there also was risk from possible tornadoes that may have been embedded in the line. Being a slow-moving system, there was a flooding risk as well.
The last of the rain was expected to be gone before sunrise on Sunday morning. Gulf Coast residents can expect to see a gradual clearing through the rest of Sunday and cooler temperatures with highs only in the 60s.
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