Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Thursday evening that the state had six deaths Severe weather outbreak It spawned two dozen tornadoes in the south.
“I am saddened to learn that six Alabamians have died in the storms that have ravaged our state. My prayers are with their loved ones and communities. We are all too familiar with devastating weather, but our people are resilient. We will get through it and be stronger for it,” the governor said in a tweet.
The governor did not say where in the state the deaths occurred, but Coroner Buster Barber says five storm-related deaths occurred in Atoka County.
At least 20 homes were damaged or destroyed in the county, said Autauga County Emergency Management Deputy Director Gary Weaver.
Autauga County is east of Dallas County, where a large tornado touched down in the city of Selma Thursday afternoon. National Weather Service meteorologist Gerald Satterwhite told CNN that the twister was at least 50 miles on the ground and caused damage in seven counties across the state.
“It was a very significant tornado,” said Satterwhite, “with debris rising about 10,000 to 15,000 feet in the air.”
He added that the tornado could be an EF-2 or EF-3. It says it is one of at least 34 tornadoes in the United States National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.
Damage in Selma is widespread, Dallas County Coroner William Allen Dailey said. The damage goes “from one side of Dallas County to the other,” he said during a video news conference.
Officials said there were no casualties but some were injured.
According to images shared by Mike Pitts, a large funnel cloud passed through the area. After it passed, Pitts’ pictures showed houses without roofs, other roofs with shingles and roads blocked by piles of debris.
The storm “tore apart” Selma resident Chrishun Moore’s home, but no one was injured, he told CNN. She took refuge in a bathroom with her mother.
“All we heard was wind and the whole house shook,” Moore said.
Photos by Priscilla Lewis Downed power poles, debris strewn across the road and heavy damage to at least one building, CNN reported.
“It’s almost impossible to leave the city of Selma,” Lewis said.
Other photos taken by Kenneth Martin show the wind damage. A large building shows a large roof collapse.
Deborah A. Brown told CNN he was at a tax office downtown when he believed the tornado hit Broad Street.
In A Facebook video was posted After the storm, Brown could be heard telling people how blessed he and others there were.
“We could be gone, sir,” she says as she points the camera at the SUV with the windows broken. “We had to run for cover. We had to run and jump on the shelf.
Brown’s video shows a large pile of debris dragging power lines into the ground. In the alleyway next to the building she was in, it looks like part of a wall of a neighboring building has come down in a heap.
Selma, a city of about 17,000 people about 50 miles west of Montgomery, was the site of a major civil rights march in 1965, in which protesters on the Edmund Pettus Bridge were beaten and teargassed by police, an incident “Bloody Sunday.”
“This is a disaster area. Powerlines are down and trees are down — it’s very dangerous,” Dallas County Probate Judge Jimmy Nunn said during a news conference.
Mayor James Perkins presided over a City Council meeting, which was held outside City Hall with headlights flashing because of a power outage.
“We need to layer up and be ready,” he said, adding that temperatures in the area had begun to drop, with a forecast overnight low of 39 degrees.
He also asked for storage of potable water as treatment facilities were affected due to lack of electricity.
Thursday night, Hurricane watches Wind advisories for southern Georgia still cover parts of Alabama and Georgia. A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for parts of North Carolina.
Nearly 140,000 customers were without power in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas as of 9:30 p.m. ET. PowerOutage.us.
The governors of Alabama and Georgia each declared states of emergency for parts of their states.
Damage reports piled up Thursday across the Southeast and Ohio Valley as the storms advanced. In addition to dozens of tornado reports, the National Weather Service also recorded more than 140 wind reports.
Authorities in Elmore County, Alabama, told CNN that one person was injured and several homes were damaged.
“There was a lot of damage in the northwest part of the county,” said Keith Barnett, director of emergency management.
Elmore County is north of Montgomery.
In north Alabama’s Morgan County alone, a storm Thursday morning caused 10 to 15 injuries — none of them believed to be life-threatening — and damaged numerous buildings, county sheriff’s spokesman Mike Swafford said.
In Decatur, a Morgan County community about 25 miles southwest of Huntsville, debris littered streets and fields and downed power lines, city police and the County Sheriff’s Department showed.
Siding was removed from a Decatur hotel Thursday morning, according to pictures taken by hotel guest Mark Spizala as he stayed in the laundry room as the storm hit.
“We lost power and could hear the wind and the rain,” Spysala told CNN. The National Weather Service initially The reason Decatur damage from high winds.
Several preliminary tornado reports were issued in Alabama this morning, including in northwest Alabama’s Winston County and west Alabama’s Sumter County, where building damage was reported, the weather service said. said.
Trees and power poles were downed reported Along many roads in Winston County, its communities are dozens of miles northwest of Birmingham.
“Motorists should only travel on roadways in emergency situations and be aware of the weather,” the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency stresses. said In a series of tweets about the Winston County damage.
In northeast Mississippi’s Monroe County, several rural buildings were leveled or severely damaged after a storm passed through Thursday morning, a video tweeted by the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency showed.
There were no injuries, according to the agency, which said a tornado may have caused the damage. Weather service as a first step said Strong winds caused damage in the district.
The weather service reported wind damage to trees and buildings in parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Kentucky before noon. said.
In Georgia, a tornado damaged Griffin High School in Griffin, south of Atlanta. Downed trees caused a leak in the gym, Griffin-Spalding School District spokesman Adam Buck said.
Downed trees on Interstate 185 prompted authorities to close the highway in Troup County, the sheriff’s office there said.
In Kentucky, three EF-1 tornadoes were confirmed by the weather service office in Louisville. Tornadoes hit Henry, Mercer and Boyle counties.