OVER 40 million Americans in the South are bracing themselves for a string of severe thunderstorms that could bring hail and potential tornados.

For the second day in a row, severe storms are expected to pummel the south, bringing heavy rains to parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama while bringing hail and tornados to Texas.

Those states, along with Tennessee, boasts a population of over 11 million people, with dozens of school systems in Mississippi and Alabama taking early precautions and dismissing students early to get people off the roads.

Just 30 miles south of Dallas in a town called Waxahachie, people said a tornado cut across an interstate and flipped some big rigs, forcing drivers to run to save them from the wreck.

Eight people were treated for injuries and three drivers sent to the hospital with one with serious injuries.

"I've never seen nothing like this. It's hard to see, but somebody needed to do something," one witness told CBS of a storm south Fort Worth, Texas.

Five more people were hospitalized in Texas for a similar storm in Ellis County.

"They were screaming and they were saying the fire department's about to come but that was like 30 minutes before the fire department came," a witness told CBS.

"Fortunately no human life was taken and we feel blessed for that right now," said Ellis County judge Todd Little. "Fortunately at this time, no fatalities."

About 25 to 50 structures were damaged as the tornado headed towards a residential area.

San Antonio is also bracing for three-inch-diameter hail this week.

Over 143,000 people in Mississippi are without power after huge gusts of wind and rain pelted the south on Tuesday.

Over 350,000 are without power in the whole region.

"We’ll see all three threats as far as hail, wind and tornadoes,"  Mike Edmonston, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Mississippi, warned.

Three people have already died this week due to the storms.

At least 30 homes were damaged in Tompkinsville, Kentucky near the Tennessee state line from what the NWS determined was an EF1 tornado.

Winds upwards of 75 miles per hour were clocked in around cities in the south, as they brought with them heavy rains that triggered major flooding in the Birmingham, Alabama region.

Water rescues and evacuations were required in the state's neighborhood of Homewood, while homes flood south of Birmingham in Shelby County.

The National Weather Service as a result issued a rare flash flood emergency, which is only used for particularly dangerous, life-threatening situations.

Flash flood watches were also issued for parts of the northern Gulf Coast into the Appalachians.

The incoming heavy rains could increase the potential for flash flooding in the region, the NWS warned, saying the area has been saturated by recent rainfall.

In general, the NWS warns severe thunderstorm threats going into early Wednesday would bring the greatest damage, especially in Mississippi, Alabama, the western Florida Panhandle and southwest Georgia.

Scattered thunderstorms are likely in the Carolinas, Virginia, and Maryland.

Likely, damaging winds would be a threat, but it could also bring with it tornados and hail.

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