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Powerful storms and tornadoes turn deadly in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Florida – The deadly multi-day severe weather outbreak that affected millions of people across the United States extended into Friday morning when an intense line of thunderstorms brought damaging wind gusts across the South and multiple tornado warnings in the Tallahassee, Florida area.

Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey told FOX Weather that a woman died in the storm after a tree fell on the family’s home on the city’s west side as the squall line moved across the Florida Panhandle. prompting a variety of severe weather warnings.

“Unfortunately, we have had one confirmed death and we ask everyone to keep their families in your prayers,” Dailey said. “And of course we are assessing the damage and will continue to do so.”

According to the FOX Forecast Center, at least two tornadoes were confirmed in Tallahassee, Florida, on Friday morning, while storms produced gusts of up to 100 mph.

“The reports I’m getting are that we had wind gusts between 80 and 100 mph…that’s hurricane force,” Dailey said. “It was a major storm that came through, and the worrying thing is that we haven’t even entered the storm season proper.”

A squall line moved across the Florida Panhandle early Friday morning, prompting a variety of severe weather warnings. Storm damage seen in Tallahassee.
(City of Tallahassee)

A squall line moved across the Florida Panhandle early Friday morning, prompting a variety of severe weather warnings. Storm damage seen in Tallahassee.
(City of Tallahassee)

Downed trees and branches were reported in the Timberlake neighborhood off Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee, Florida, on Friday morning.
(City of Tallahassee)

Downed trees and branches were reported in the Timberlake neighborhood off Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee, Florida, on Friday morning.
(City of Tallahassee)

Downed trees and branches were reported in the Timberlake neighborhood off Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee, Florida, on Friday morning.
(City of Tallahassee)

Downed trees and branches were reported in the Timberlake neighborhood off Apalachee Parkway in Tallahassee, Florida, on Friday morning.
(City of Tallahassee)

A squall line moved across the Florida Panhandle early Friday morning, prompting a variety of severe weather warnings. Storm damage seen in Tallahassee.
(City of Tallahassee)

A squall line moved across the Florida Panhandle early Friday morning, prompting a variety of severe weather warnings. Storm damage seen in Tallahassee.
(City of Tallahassee)

A squall line moved across the Florida Panhandle early Friday morning, prompting a variety of severe weather warnings. Storm damage seen in Tallahassee.
(City of Tallahassee)

A squall line moved across the Florida Panhandle early Friday morning, prompting a variety of severe weather warnings. Storm damage seen in Tallahassee.
(City of Tallahassee)

A squall line moved across the Florida Panhandle early Friday morning, prompting a variety of severe weather warnings. Storm damage seen in Tallahassee.
(City of Tallahassee)

A squall line moved across the Florida Panhandle early Friday morning, prompting a variety of severe weather warnings. Storm damage seen in Tallahassee.
(City of Tallahassee)

A squall line moved across the Florida Panhandle early Friday morning, prompting a variety of severe weather warnings. Storm damage seen in Tallahassee.
(City of Tallahassee)

A squall line moved across the Florida Panhandle early Friday morning, prompting a variety of severe weather warnings. Storm damage seen in Tallahassee.
(City of Tallahassee)

A squall line moved across the Florida Panhandle early Friday morning, prompting a variety of severe weather warnings. Storm damage seen in Tallahassee.
(City of Tallahassee)

A squall line moved across the Florida Panhandle early Friday morning, prompting a variety of severe weather warnings. Storm damage seen in Tallahassee.
(City of Tallahassee)

The National Weather Service office believes each of the tornadoes was an EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita Wind Scale with winds of 111 to 135 mph.

“We have calls for service all over the county,” Leon County Emergency Management Director Kevin Peters told FOX Weather. “Our county and city first responders are responding to 911 calls and making sure people are safe. That’s our first step and our most important step is making sure people are rescued and safe.”

Hundreds of thousands are left without power due to storms

The NWS is reporting numerous reports of damage throughout Tallahassee around 7 a.m. ET as the squall line moved forward.

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NWS meteorologists in the Tallahassee office said they had to hunker down and transfer storm warning authority to neighboring offices.

“A dangerous situation is developing in Tallahassee at this time,” the NWS said as tornado warnings were in effect. “Seek shelter immediately. Multiple circulations and radar-confirmed tornadoes are evident on radar.”

HOW TO WATCH FOX WEATHER

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In total, more than 300,000 customers were without power across the South during the peak of the storms early Friday morning, with more than 100,000 of them in Florida as of Saturday afternoon.

The city of Tallahassee said its power grid in the wake of the storms showed severe damage to transmission lines, affecting 11 substations. The restoration will likely last through the weekend.

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Lance Greenfield was in Tallahassee at the time of the Tornado Warning and experienced heavy rain, wind, and a massive thunder and lightning show that he said he had never seen before.

“We just lost power,” he said in a Facebook post. “Luckily, I just made my second cup of coffee… fingers crossed.”

TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS LEAVE 3 DEAD IN TENNESSEE, NORTH CAROLINA AS PATH OF DAMAGE EXTENDS 900 MILES

Florida State University’s Tallahassee campuses closed Friday due to the impact of severe weather. Leon County schools said they would close due to tornado recovery efforts.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for a dozen northern Florida counties, including several counties that make up the Tallahassee region.

Wind damage reported in Alabama and Mississippi

A wind gust of 71 mph was reported in Douglasville, Alabama, and a gust of 62 mph was reported in Troy, Alabama, as the line of storms blew through overnight.

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Numerous reports of damage came in from central Mississippi, including downed trees that trapped residents inside their home in the town of Harmony. In Clarksdale, a home suffered significant wind damage, including gusts that took out a power meter and left cars and livestock pens in ruins.

Near Meridian, a tree fell on a truck while traveling on Interstate 59. So far there are no reports of injuries from the group of storms.