A series of twisters tore through several Alabama cities, leaving at least five people dead while inflicting major damage on homes and knocking out power supply for tens of thousands of residents.
The five fatalities were reported by officials in eastern Alabama’s Calhoun County on Thursday, after a large funnel swept through the area. Two of the victims resided in mobile homes, the country coroner said.
Up to eight tornadoes touched down throughout the day, all stemming from the same “supercell” of storms, according to John De Block, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Birmingham. The local NWS has since called off a “severe risk” notice and tornado watch for central Alabama, noting that the massive storm had moved east into Georgia.
Photos and videos of extensive damage wreaked on homes, trees and powerlines have circulated on social media.
Prayers for the 5 reported dead in the Alabama tornado out break. EWTN continues to broadcast. Tornado watch from Memphis, Tennessee area to east of Birmingham, AL into Georgia until 2 AM Central Time. Aftermath, of the tornado’s high winds damage to homes & power lines. pic.twitter.com/itoOYzTpwY
— Cephas Zone (@CephasZone) March 26, 2021
Harrowing footage captured from inside the storm also made the rounds, with one clip showing fierce winds pelting a car with debris as a twister passed nearby. Another resident filmed a near-miss as he just barely made it into his home as gales blew down trees just feet away.
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Some of the massive funnels themselves were also caught on film in Birmingham, Eagle Point and elsewhere.
Between 30 and 50 homes and structures were damaged in the town of Pelham, according to local police, who also posted dozens of photos of the storm’s aftermath on social media. Police in Helena also reported significant damage, as did the sheriff’s department in Shelby County, which encompasses Helena. An officer in Florence, meanwhile, was struck by lightning while setting up a road barricade, though they were said to be “conscious and responsive” earlier on Thursday evening.
As a result of the damage, more than 28,000 power outages were reported across the state at the time of writing, according to the tracking website PowerOutage.us.
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