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Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes swept through parts of the south from Tuesday through Wednesday morning, killing at least two people in Alabama and damaging homes, other buildings and downing trees in several states, officials said.
Two people were killed and at least one other was injured when a tornado hit the Flatwood area near Alabama’s capital on Wednesday morning, the Montgomery County Director of Emergency Management told CNN. , Christina Thornton.
“Thanks to the heroic efforts of our first responders, many more lives have been saved. We pray for our community as we mourn this tragic loss of life,” Thornton said.
At least 30 tornado reports have been reported since Tuesday afternoon, mostly in central and southern Mississippi and Alabama, as well as Louisiana, according to the Storm Prediction Center. said. The winds also toppled trees in Tennessee and Georgia.
Storm damage includes:
• Alabama: The tornado that killed two people in the Flatwood area near Montgomery had winds estimated at 110mphthe national weather service said. The tornadoes also reportedly caused damage in the west and southwest of the state, according to the service.
An apartment complex was torn apart on Tuesday evening near Eutaw Greene County, with a roof ripped off and walls fallen in exposing residents’ bedrooms, video by CNN affiliate WBMA showed.
A tornado with winds around 110 mph damaged the resort, the weather service said. The damage left displaced residents sheltering in a college, WBMA reported.
In neighboring Hale County, numerous trees and some homes were damaged in the small town of Akron. A fallen tree rested on the roof of a house, images of WBMA and CNN Affiliate WVTM show. No injuries were immediately reported in Akron, county emergency management director Russell Weeden said.
In sumiton Just outside Birmingham, the roof of a commercial building blew off and struck a house, city officials said.
• Mississippi: In Lowndes County, east of Starkville, a tree fell into Mary Perkins’ trailer, nearly cutting her in half.
The storm, which could have included a tornado, sounded “like a passing train,” Perkins told CNN on Wednesday. No one was hurt.
“I hope I can afford to have a caravan to go home. … As old as I am, I don’t think of building a house. I’m hoping for a trailer,” said Perkins, a county resident of 34 years.
Volunteer firefighters helped some people who became trapped in damaged buildings, Lowndes County Fire Coordinator Neil Austin said.
“We were able to get (to) some people who had to hide in their homes that were messed up,” Austin told CNN on Wednesday.
In the same county, a church steeple was swept away and a grocery store was damaged in the community of Steens on Tuesday night, county emergency management officer Cindy Lawrence told CNN. No deaths or injuries were reported in the county, Austin said.
Mississippi State University at Starkville briefly asked students to take shelter during a tornado warning Tuesday night. Earlier today, classes at two of the school’s campuses were conducted remotely and some dining halls were closed due to the threat. Regular operations are expected to resume on Wednesday, the university said.
• Louisiana: Several homes were damaged in Caldwell Parish in northern Louisiana, where the National Weather Service reports a tornado reportedly hit Tuesday evening, CNN affiliate KNOE reported. At least one house has collapsed, with bricks, boxes, a mattress and other debris strewn across the area, video from KNOE showed.
More than 41,000 power outages were reported across the Southeast Wednesday morning, including 25,000 in Alabama, 12,000 in Tennessee and 4,000 in Mississippi, according to the utility tracker. PowerOutage.us.
Parts of the south, notably between Huntsville and Birmingham in Alabama, saw between 2 and 4 inches of rain on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, the Storm Prediction Center issued a rare “particularly dangerous situation” tornado watch, which is usually designated for the most significant storm threats. This watch was in effect for central Mississippi, northeast Louisiana and southwest Arkansas until Wednesday morning and has since expired.