The mayor of Selma said there was “significant damage” from the massive tornado that tore through Selma, Alabama, on Thursday — one of more than a dozen reports of tornadoes in the state alone as powerful storms lashed the Southeast , causing many injuries.
The National Weather Service confirmed that Selma’s “massive and extremely dangerous tornado” hit the city at 12:19 p.m. Central Time and continued to move east.
“Please stay off the road and stay away from power lines,” Mayor James Perkins Jr said. said in a Facebook post.
Based on images shared by Mike Pitts, what appears to be a giant funnel cloud is passing through the area. After the storm passed, pictures of Pitts showed houses without roofs, other roofs without shingles, and roads blocked by piles of debris.
She told CNN that the storm “destroyed” the house of Selma resident Chrison Moore, but no one was injured. She and her mother hid in the bathroom.
“All we heard was the wind and the whole house was shaking,” Moore said.
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Selma, about 50 miles west of Montgomery and home to about 17,000 people, was the site of the landmark civil rights march in 1965, where protesters were beaten and teargassed by police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge, an incident Known as “Bloody Sunday”
The powerful storm that sparked the tornado swept across the Southeast on Thursday, injuring several people and wreaking havoc across multiple states with more damage likely in the hours to come.
In the Southeast and Ohio Valley — from Louisiana eastward to the Carolinas and southern Kentucky to the Gulf Coast — more than 35 million people were threatened with some degree of severe storms Thursday, which could include damaging gusts and tornadoes , the Storm Prediction Center said.
By early afternoon, tornado watches covered parts of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, the western Florida Panhandle and western North Carolina, with varying expiration times.
Some 9.5 million people in parts of Alabama and Georgia, including the Birmingham, Montgomery and Atlanta areas, are expected to face the greatest risk of severe storms — an “enhanced” risk, or Category 3 or 5 — on Thursday, the forecast center said. .
About the timing: Severe storms are especially likely in the Birmingham and Montgomery areas in the early afternoon and the Atlanta area in the late afternoon.
Reports of damage grew in the Southeast and Ohio Valley on Thursday as the storm developed.
In Morgan County in northern Alabama alone, a storm injured 10 to 15 people Thursday morning — none believed life-threatening — and damaged many buildings, county sheriff’s spokesman Mike Swaa said. Ford said.
Photos from the city police and county sheriff’s department showed debris and downed power lines strewn across the streets and fields of Decatur, a Morgan County community about 25 miles southwest of Huntsville.
Siding was ripped off at a Decatur hotel, according to photos taken by hotel guest Mark Spychala, who said he took cover in the laundry room when the storm hit Thursday morning.
Spychala told CNN that “we lost power and could hear wind and rain” hitting the area outside. The National Weather Service initially attributed the damage to Decatur to strong winds.
Several preliminary reports of tornadoes were issued in Alabama this morning, including Winston County in northwestern Alabama and Sumter County in western Alabama, where buildings were reported damaged, the weather service said. destroy.
fallen trees and power lines Report Along several roads in Winston County, its community is dozens of miles northwest of Birmingham.
“Motorists are urged to drive only in emergencies and to remain aware of the weather,” Alabama law enforcement agency Say In a series of tweets about the devastation in Winston County.
Video posted on Twitter by the Mississippi State Emergency Management Agency showed several rural buildings flattened or badly damaged in Northeast Mississippi’s Monroe County after the storm passed Thursday morning.
No injuries were reported there, according to the agency, which said the tornado may have caused damage. The Bureau of Meteorology initially said strong winds caused damage to the county.
Elsewhere in parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Kentucky also reported wind damage to trees and structures before noon, the weather service said.