At Least Five Dead As Tornado Tears Through Alabama: 'Numerous Homes Damaged, Numerous People Injured'
At least five people have been declared dead and many more have been injured after a tornado tore through Alabama on Thursday, March 25.
Storms that spawned the tornadoes are also being blamed for a death in Mississippi. On Wednesday, March 24, a 62-year-old died in the southern state when a tree crashed into her mobile home, according to the Associated Press.
"There's numerous homes damaged, numerous people injured, and at least five fatalities," Calhoun Country Sherrif Matthew Wade told CNN. "We're worrying about the second storm that's coming through, possibly on the same track."
Fourteen tornadoes were reported in Alabama on Thursday, as well as one in Mississippi and one in Georgia, according to the National Weather Service. Parts of Indiana, Illinois, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee are also in the threat zone.
Three adults from the same family were killed in Ohatchee. A 13-year-old girl reportedly survived while her grandparents and mother lost their lives, but a male family member also survived. One man died in a mobile home in Calhoun, and a woman died in a mobile home in Wellington, according to Calhoun County Coroner Pat Brown.
The search and rescue efforts continue with approximately 200 first responders, ABC reported. A police officer was said to be struck by lightning in Florence when he responded to flood conditions. He suffered burns on his back but is expected to recover.
Some homes have been completely destroyed, according to Shelby County Sherriff John Samaniego. "Our priority at the moment is identifying those citizens in need of emergency medical attention," Samaniego explained. "We will then work with our partnering agencies to provide needed resources to our residents who are displaced. This search and outreach effort will continue throughout the night and into the early morning hours."
A number of people were injured in Eagle Point. A number of homes were destroyed in Centreville in Bibb County and the airport was damaged. Around 60 homes were damaged in Pelham, and 200 people had to seek shelter in a local middle school.
"Pelham EOC and the storm shelter is closing now that Shelby County was cleared from the Tornado Watch," the Pelham Police Department confirmed on Twitter. "EOC will re-open at 7:00am as we begin the recovery process."
The Shelby County Sheriff’s office asked that people avoid damaged areas so first-responders can safely work to begin the recovery process. "Today was a tragic day for Shelby," Samaniego said. "We are here to support all of our citizens and the many other Shelby municipalities who were also severely impacted by the storms. In the aftermath of these storms, we have seen the best of Shelby County. Neighbors helping neighbors. Businesses and kind citizens reaching out with donations of food and supplies."
First Lady Jill Biden postponed a trip to Alabama that was scheduled for Friday, March 26, due to the storm. "Thinking of everyone in Alabama and all of those impacted by the severe weather across the South tonight. My prayers are with the grieving families. Please stay safe," Biden tweeted.