Multiple tornadoes have killed at least three people and there are reports of multiple injuries, authorities reported from Alabama this afternoon.
The threat is ongoing throughout the evening for violent, long-track twisters.
Along with multiple deaths, there are reports of people being trapped in flattened home in Calhoun County, according to local officials. The tornadoes have ripped through northern Alabama, with the most damage in Calhoun and Selby County.
Shelby County is the home of Birmingham where some homes have been destroyed as well, according to Sheriff John Samaniego. “Our priority at the moment is identifying those citizens in need of emergency medical attention,” the sheriff said.
“We will then work with our partnering agencies to provide needed resources to our residents who are displaced. This search and outreach effort will continue throughout the night and into the early morning hours.”
A small number of people were injured in the Eagle Point neighborhood of Shelby County, Cahaba Valley Fire Chief Barry Casey said. In Pelham, a city just south of Birmingham, approximately 30 to 50 homes and structures have been damaged, police said Thursday afternoon, though they noted that the number is “very preliminary” and crews are currently assessing the damage.
A police officer was struck by lightning in Florence while responding to flood conditions, authorities said. The officer was readjusting a barricade in standing water when he was hit, according to Police Deputy Chief Mike Holt. The officer called in his location over the radio, and responding officers took him to a local medical center, the chief said. The officer suffered burns on his back but is expected to be OK, Holt said.
Alabama and Mississippi are in the threat zone, as well as parts of Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, and Illinois.
Multiple rounds of intense thunderstorms are expected across this region late today and tonight with damaging winds possible. Wind gusts could reach 80 mph and very large hail is possible.
By midnight, storms with damaging wind gusts will be reaching Atlanta and into parts of the mid-Atlantic and Ohio Valley. These stores could also produce heavy downpours with flash flooding possible.
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