At least two people have been killed and several others have been injured after an outbreak of severe storms spawned tornadoes that will lead a path of destruction across the South on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Emergency officials in Montgomery County, Alabamasaid at least two people were killed early Wednesday morning when an EF-1 tornado With winds of 110 mph ripped through the region, bringing down trees and severely damaging homes and businesses.
The tornado hit the Flatwood community on the northern side of Montgomery, according to Christina Thornton, director of the Montgomery City-County Emergency Management Agency. She said two people died when trees fell onto their mobile homes.
“The tornado actually happened after 3:30 am (local time) this morning,” said Montgomery County EMA director Christina Thornton. “We were in our Safer Spaces shelter, where we provide a safe place for our community, and we watched it unfold.”
Thornton said that there have also been multiple injuries of varying types in the county.
Thornton said search and rescue operations are ongoing, but it’s taking a bit longer due to felled trees that are blocking roads in the area.
“It’s absolutely looking like a small community has been wiped off the map,” Thornton said. “It’s really devastating to think about when you look across the field, and you know that there were homes there the day before on your way to work, and when you’re leaving work this morning, they’re not going to be there. ”
Nighttime tornadoes are known to affect the region, including during autumn, which is known as the second severe weather season. Tornadoes at any time of day can cause massive amounts of damage, but tornadoes after dark are far more likely to turn deadly as they are more difficult to spot, and those in harm’s way may be sleeping and unaware of the approaching danger.
More injuries have been reported across the South after severe thunderstorms and tornadoes moved through starting Tuesday night into Wednesday morning.
Four people were seriously injured, and several animals were killed in Caldwell Parish, louisianaduring a possible tornado Tuesday evening, according to photojournalist Michael Beard with Live Storms Media.
“The livestock behind his home was destroyed,” Jack McKeithen, chief deputy at the Caldwell Parish Sheriff’s office, said of one of the homes hit hard by the storms. “He’s lost everything. He’s just devastated and doesn’t know what’s going to happen and what he’s going to do. He’s just thankful he wasn’t hurt seriously.”
the deadly severe weather outbreak has led to at least 35 reports of tornadoes from Louisiana to Mississippi to Alabama since Tuesday afternoon. The National Weather Service will conduct storm surveys in the coming days to determine the exact number of tornadoes that touched down during the severe weather event.
The NWS confirmed that the strongest of the nearly 3 dozen tornadoes was an EF-3 that struck southern Mississippi and Alabama overnight. Winds were estimated to be at 140 mph when the twister tore through heavy-treed areas. The supercell caused significant damage to a high school in Fruitdale, Alabama.
The threat of damaging storms will continue across the South as the same line of storms sweeps east Wednesday.