At the least 5 useless after tornadoes hit Alabama
At least five people died Thursday when multiple tornadoes hit Alabama, the second series of major storms to devastate the state in two weeks.
The tornadoes were moving across the state, the National Weather Service said, and there have been reports of destroyed homes, fallen trees, and people injured and trapped. More than 35,000 customers in Alabama were without power,according to poweroutage.us.
And the outbreak had not yet occurred in the region: The NWS forecast numerous intense and long-range tornadoes, widespread harmful winds (some hurricane forces) and scattered large hailstones into the evening.
Severe thunderstorms were forecast from western Kentucky to southern Indiana. Harmful winds are the main threat, but forecasters said isolated tornadoes will be possible Thursday evenings.
Long-track tornadoes are cyclones that carve several miles into the ground and often cause devastating damage.
“Tornadoes at night can be particularly dangerous as they are usually fast moving and difficult to see,” the NWS said. “The most stubborn / intense supercells will be able to produce strong to violent tornadoes along with very large hail and significant noxious winds.”
In Alabama, Calhoun County coroner Pat Brown confirmed that five people believed to be adults died in three apartment buildings on Thursday.
Brown said three family members were killed in a timber frame house in Ohatchee, a small town in East Alabama, after an apparent tornado landed around 3 p.m. Another man was killed in a RV in Ohatchee. The fifth victim, a woman, died in a motor home in Wellington, Alabama.
A tornado was later confirmed near the city, the National Weather Service reported.
In the afternoon, severe storms surfaced in central Alabama, which came in waves until the early evening. There was a long list of streets with reported damage – a church was among the affected buildings.
Calhoun County emergency managers encouraged people to stay out of the area and let first responders work and stay weather conscious as more storms were expected as the evening wore on.
Search and rescue efforts were complicated as the weather continued to be strong across the region.
“We were told to be prepared for another round of storms,” said Maj. Clay Hammac of the Shelby County’s Sheriff’s Department.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey made an emergency statement for 46 counties as the storm approached and officials opened shelters in and around Birmingham. It also issued a statement on Twitter late Thursday after reports from residents killed in the storms.
“Significant and dangerous weather continues to affect parts of Alabama, and I urge all people en route to these tornadoes and storm systems to remain on high alert,” Ivey said in a prepared statement to Live. I offer my sincere prayers to all concerned. Unfortunately the day is not over yet. Y’all, please stay safe and vigilant! ”
Severe weather also hit parts of Mississippi on Thursday, a day after authorities reported a weather-related death in the southwestern part of the state. Ester Jarrell, 62, died when a large tree fell on her mobile home Wednesday night after heavy rain soaked the ground, a Wilkinson County official told The Associated Press.
Around 50 million people were on the path of the storm, said the Storm Prediction Center. Parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee are most at risk, the National Weather Service said.
The weather service warned those on the storm’s path that “if a tornado warning is issued for your area, you should move to a safe place, ideally in a basement or indoor room on the bottom floor of a sturdy building.”
For the second time this month, the Storm Prediction Center issued a high storm risk in the south. The last time the center issued two high risks of severe weather in March was 30 years ago, in 1991, AccuWeather said.
James Spann, chief meteorologist for ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, Alabama, said the storms caused “catastrophic damage”.
“There’s nothing good about that,” said Spann as he chased another “violent” tornado through Bibb County at 5:15 pm.
Some of the major metropolitan areas on Thursday’s storms route are Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee; and Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama.
In Tennessee, a thunderstorm with speeds of up to 120 km / h brought hail, strong winds, and tree damage as it pierced the state.
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Some schools in the south closed on Thursday or switched to virtual learning as storms threatened. The distribution outlets for COVID-19 vaccines have also been closed.
The storms were predicted to occur primarily in the afternoon and early evening, and some could potentially occur after dark.
Ashlyn Jackson, a meteorologist with the Jackson Meteorological Service office, encouraged residents to put in place more than one warning system in the event of severe weather.
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“Especially at night, sometimes things like tornado sirens aren’t enough to wake you up, so I would tell people to have other methods of staying weather aware,” she said.
In addition to the storm, a flash flood watch on Thursday covered northern parts of Alabama and Georgia, as well as parts of Tennessee and western North Carolina.
Up to 4 inches of rain – with higher possible amounts – is expected in northern Alabama, according to the Huntsville Weather Service.
Contributors: Keisha Rowe, Mississippi Clarion Ledger; The Montgomery Advertiser; The Tuscaloosa News; The Associated Press