BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — Relentless winds and rain pummeled large swaths of the South on Tuesday, causing tornadoes, sparking a flash flood emergency in Alabama and damaging homes from Texas to Virginia. The storms prompted boat rescues, toppled trees and power lines and raised the threat of flash floods elsewhere in the region.

The National Weather Service issued the flash flood emergency for the Birmingham, Alabama, area at the start of rush hour, warning that torrential rains — as much as 5 inches (13 centimeters) in some areas — had already fallen and another 2 inches (5 centimeters) were possible before the storm system continued eastward.

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