Sightings and alerts from the Louisiana Gulf Coast to the Florida panhandle on Sunday, and at least one death was reported from a traffic accident related to the storm.
More than a dozen tornado sightings were reported, and tornado warnings were in effect Sunday afternoon for portions of Baldwin and Mobile counties in southwest Alabama and Greene, Jasper, Perry and Wayne counties in southern Mississippi, according to the National Weather Service. Weather officials had not confirmed any tornadoes touching down in the area on Sunday afternoon, but were tracking at least three twisters and funnel clouds near Mobile, Alabama, and central Mississippi near Hattiesburg.
Tornado watches stretched from southeast Mississippi, through a dozen counties in southwest Alabama and several more in the Florida Panhandle. Tornado watches also reached into southwest Georgia on Sunday afternoon, set to expire late in the evening, as rain from Lee edged eastward. Wet conditions associated with Tropical Storm Lee’s landfall appeared to be a factor in an early-morning car wreck in Mobile, Alabama, that killed one man and left several others injured, authorities said.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama traveled to flood-stricken New Jersey Sunday to survey the damage caused by Hurricane Irene.With rain-swollen rivers receding in the Northeast after the region suffered its worst flooding in decades, Obama arrived for a first-hand look at the disaster response in the working-class city of Paterson, one of the hardest-hit places.
The Democratic president was joined by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a budget-cutting Republican who has bucked some of his party’s fiscal hawks in Washington by calling for expedited federal aid to help his state’s recovery.
Irene cut a swathe of destruction from North Carolina to Vermont and was blamed for at least 40 deaths. Total economic losses have been estimated at more than $10 billion.
New Jersey was especially hammered by flooding in the storm’s wake last week that swept away homes, swamped roads and bridges and left hundreds of thousands without electricity.