Storms, Tornadoes Cause Extensive Damage Across U.S. Southeast; at Least 7 Dead

Lo único que queda de una casa ubicada en County Road 43 son los cimientos luego del paso
AP Photo/Vasha Hunt

Storms and tornadoes caused extensive damage to several communities across the U.S. Southeast on Thursday, including in Alabama, where at least 25 tornadoes were reported, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.

At least six fatalities have been confirmed in Autauga County, Alabama, located in the central part of the state, Emergency Management Director Ernie Baggett told “​The best we can tell is about 40 homes have major damage or have been completely destroyed,” Baggett added.

The county’s coroner, Buster Barber, told CNN that emergency workers are still searching for bodies.

In Selma, officials called the city a “disaster area” as a high-end EF2 or EF3 tornado rolled through and lifted debris at least 16,000 feet up into the air, WSFA 12 reported. The storm was also reported to have caused major damage to roads and vehicles in the city.

Selma officials have enforced a curfew extending from dusk to dawn Thursday night.

No fatalities have been reported in Selma, but multiple people have been injured. The tornado also hit the Dallas County Jail, and inmates are currently being transferred to other counties’ facilities in the state, according to WSFA 12.

Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency Thursday in six counties, including Chambers, Coosa, Dallas, Elmore, and Tallapoosa.

“I — along with my partners at the Alabama EMA — will continue monitoring to determine if an expanded state of emergency is needed. I am ready to be a helping hand to our local officials,” Ivey stated in a tweet from her government account.

There were over 33 separate tornado reports across the nation on Thursday, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The National Weather Service stated that the storm was moving into Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina and issued a tornado watch in those states until 10 p.m. Eastern Thursday night.

Power outages have affected over 88,300 residents, 41,500 in Alabama, 16,500 in Tennessee, 12,300 in North Carolina, and 9,600 in South Carolina, according to utility tracker

The storm has reportedly caused damage west of Downton Atlanta in Douglas and Cobb County while also causing damage to a shopping area in Griffin, south of Atlanta, the AP reported.

One person was killed in Jackson, Georgia, when a tree fell on a vehicle due to a possible tornado in the area, USA Today reported, citing Butts County Corner Lacey Prue.

The storms in the southeast come in the aftermath of the storms that ravaged California over the past week, where officials say that 17 people have died. An EF-1 tornado was reported to have touched down in Milton, California, at around 4:10 a.m. Thursday, according to the National Weather Service in Sacramento.

You can follow Ethan Letkeman on Twitter at @EthanLetkeman.


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