US storms, tornadoes kill 45 in Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama, April 28, 2011
Tornadoes and storms killed 45 people in Alabama on Wednesday as severe weather lashed the southeastern US, bringing down power lines, destroying buildings and triggering flooding.
The storms were part of a series that have struck half a dozen southern states over the last few days, killing at least 66 people.
'State (emergency officials) can confirm 45 storm-related deaths today in Alabama,' said Yasamie August, spokeswoman for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.
Fifteen people were killed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, she told Reuters.
The thunderstorm that spawned a tornado there triggered more twisters in Georgia three hours later.
'This could be the worst tornado in Alabama's history,' said meteorologist Josh Nagelberg of AccuWeather.com.
Marshall County in northeastern Alabama had six fatalities, five of them in one house, Sheriff Scott Walls told Reuters.
'That house was in the direct path of the tornado. We had homes and businesses that took direct hits. Every community in the county has suffered damage,' he said.
President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency for Alabama and ordered federal aid for the stricken state.
'While we may not know the extent of the damage for days, we will continue to monitor these severe storms across the country and stand ready to continue to help the people of Alabama and all citizens affected by these storms,' Obama said in a statement on Wednesday night.
Floods and power outages
Floods were a big concern throughout the storm-hit area, where rain compounded with melted snow to cause rising rivers and saturated soils.
Several states suffered power outages as well as property and infrastructure damage that could prove costly to repair.
The storms forced the Tennessee Valley Authority to close three nuclear power plants in Alabama and knocked out 11 high voltage power lines.
'Teams have pre-deployed to begin debris removal and search and rescue operations as soon as conditions permit,' said Alabama Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Lauree Ashcom.
Governors in Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee declared a state of emergency and in Mississippi, Governor Haley Barbour declared a state of emergency for 39 counties.
Earlier, authorities put the death toll across the South at 25 over a three-day period, a figure that included 11 deaths in Arkansas, six in Alabama, five in Mississippi, two in Louisiana and one in Tennessee.
Two deaths were reported later Wednesday after a tornado hit Georgia near the border with Tennessee and Alabama.
Residents in Tennessee are coping with flooding, power outages and blocked roads. Flooding became more widespread in Arkansas on Wednesday after several days of intense storms.
Violent weather has pummeled much of the US South this month. Two weeks ago, at least 47 people died as storms tore a wide path from Oklahoma to North Carolina. – Reuters
More INTERNATIONAL NEWS Stories
- $5bn poll spend to boost India economy
- Libya authorises use of force against Korean tanker
- Ukraine PM says he will go to US to discuss crisis
- Syrian journalist killed covering fighting
- Malaysian jet may have turned back before vanishing
- No sign of missing plane; Malaysia probes false passports
- Two Europeans not on board 'missing' Malaysian jet
- China draws red line on North Korea
- Saudi sentences three to death for 2003 bombing
- First bitcoin machine opens in UK
- US sanctions will boomerang, warns Russia
- China plans $50bn bank to fund projects
- Sony to sell Tokyo 'birthplace'
- Obama orders sanctions over Russian moves
- Crimea parliament votes to join Russia
- Arab League to be revamped
- 'Upskirting' is legal: Massachusetts court
- Singapore probes 'unnatural' death of bitcoin trader
- Onus on world powers for Syria war crimes: UN
- US, Russia set for talks on Ukraine crisis
- Brent oil drops below $109
- Services outshine manufacturing, pushing up jobs
- Bitcoin bank shut down after hacker attack
- India to kick off world's biggest poll on April 7
- China signals focus on reforms
- Hundreds ready for bitcoin exchange class action
- Space taxi, Jupiter mission in Obama budget
- Putin: Use of force last resort in Ukraine
- Powers to boost Lebanese military, economy
- Egypt bans Hamas activities in Egypt