I know confirmed the death of an eighth person after violent storms dumped a tornado over Alabama and Georgia on Thursday as authorities assessed the damage, The Washington Post reported.
The The Autauga, Alabama, Sheriff’s Office said the body of a woman had been found, bringing the death toll in that state to seven. Friday morning.
All the dead were adults found near their homes, Autauga County Coroner Buster Barber told The Washington Post.
“Their houses were completely destroyed,” said Barber, who worked in Old Kingston, a residential neighborhood in Autauga County.
“I’m looking at four houses right now, and there’s not a standing wall in any of them.”
In Butts County, Georgia, a 5-year-old boy died after a pine tree fell on a car.the coroner reported. Another passenger in the vehicle remained in critical condition Thursday night.
Republican Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency in six Alabama counties where the tornado caused the most damage: Autauga, Chambers, Coosa, Dallas, Elmore and Tallapoosa.
Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency for the entire state in response to extreme weather.
Eighth body found after tornadoes ripped through Alabama, Georgia
There were no reports of deaths in hard-hit Selma, Alabama, but Mayor James Perkins called the damage “tremendous.”
“Basically, this tornado went through and divided our city,” he said at a news conference Friday morning, noting that most of the damage occurred in the city, famous for its civil rights legacy.
Some 19,000 people lost power Thursday, Perkins said, and that number dropped to 7,000 just before noon.
Schools throughout Dallas County, Alabama, which includes Selma, were closed Friday as engineers inspected buildings for structural damage, said Leroy Miles, vice president of the county school board.
Hundreds of students and teachers could not have reached their classrooms anyway, he added, because debris clogged roads.
“It is difficult for the buses to pick up the children and take them safely,” he said. “We’re having trouble assessing the extent of the damage because it’s hard to get anywhere right now.”
His daughter, a fourth-grade teacher, left her home in Selma to stay with him after losing power. “It had a leak in the roof, a lot of water,” she said. “Trees, power lines, transformers in his yard.”
He said his family plans to clean up their home and then join community efforts in the city when roads reopen.
In Alexander City, a policeman with the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency’s Marine Patrol Division was injured after a falling tree crushed his patrol car, denting its rear end.
Some 18,000 customers lost power in Alabama as of mid-Friday, according to poweroutage.us, mainly along the storm’s path through central state. In George, about 20,000 reported power outages.
The rotating thunderstorm, or supercell, that produced the deadly Autauga County tornado first formed in Louisiana Thursday morning before tracking 500 miles into eastern Georgia.
The storm spawned tornadoes along its path and kicked up debris as high as 20,000 feet. Some debris from the tornado was thrown more than 10 miles into the path of the storm.
Tornadoes were reported from Lawrence County in northern Alabama to Mobile County on the Gulf Coast, according to NOAA, with the main line of those reports crossing from Mississippi through the center of the state and into Georgia.
As the storm swept through east-central Alabama, the Birmingham office of the National Weather Service declared a tornado emergency on multiple occasions—its most severe alert, used only when large, dangerous tornadoes are confirmed to threaten population centers. .
Thursday’s storms erupted when a strong cold front sweeping the south collided with warm, humid air blowing north from the Gulf of Mexico.
The National Weather Service received nearly three dozen reports of tornadoes concentrated in Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky. It also logged nearly 200 reports of damaging winds and hail from Mississippi to the Carolinas and as far north as southern Ohio.
The extreme weather came on the heels of last week’s storms that spawned 13 tornadoes in central Alabama and more in Georgia and South Carolina.
Tornadoes are not uncommon in the South during the winter months; in Alabama, they are most common between late fall and late spring. However, in recent years, meteorologists have noted an increase in tornado outbreaks during the colder months, which could be related to human-caused climate change.
The Weather Service has issued 696 severe storm and tornado warnings this year, the most on record in early January.
* “Mommy, everything will be fine,” the last words of the 5-year-old boy who was swept away in San Luis Obispo County
* Massive storm outages left California without power, exposing power grid vulnerabilities
* Hispanic, who spent 29 years in prison for a crime he did not commit was released thanks to the Loyola Project