Severe storms and tornadoes thrashed across parts of the South on Thursday evening and Friday morning, leading to the death of at least five people in Alabama and one in Georgia, while ruining several communities.
Tornadoes have caused devastating scenes in Alabama and Georgia, especially on Friday, where homes and businesses tattered apart and streets and yards spoiled with mangled debris.
The weather service reported that one of the last tornadoes that struck the western Georgia city of Newnan on early Friday ripped roofs and smashing trees and utility poles just after midnight.
Friday morning saw firefighters going door to door in the city of about 40,000 people southwest of Atlanta and helped numerous people from their homes after trees fell on the structures.
Branches, metal and other items were thrown across Newnan’s roads and fields.
On Thursday evening, minimum five deaths and several injuries were reported in Calhoun County, Alabama, after a tornado arrived, Sheriff Matthew Wade informed CNN.
The town of Pelham, Alabama, witnessed damage to about 60 homes, Fire Chief Michael Reid reported.
“We’re also very grateful that of all the damage done, nobody was hurt,” Pelham City Manager Gretchen DiFante mentioned. “We’re very thankful for that this evening.”
There have been 23 tornado reports framed – one in Mississippi, 17 in Alabama, and five in Georgia, the weather service reported.
About 38,000 homes and businesses went out of power in Alabama and Georgia on Friday morning, as per the utility tracker PowerOutage.us.
Alabama’s Calhoun County east of Birmingham suffered the deaths of five people killed in severe storms early Thursday evening, as reported by authorities.
It includes four adults — three from the same family and a man somewhere else in a mobile home – in the town of Ohatchee, Calhoun County Coroner Pat Brown mentioned. A tornado is expected to have hit the town, leaving “substantial damage to properties and homes,” the weather service reported.
The fifth person to die in the storm was a woman in Wellington, around 10 miles east of Ohatchee, the coroner reported.
In the Alabama city of Pelham, in Shelby County, south of Birmingham, Cesar Villaseñor, was in a van with his boss when he got caught in severe weather.
They were attempting to get to shelter at his boss’s house, Villaseñor mentioned, around the time a tornado or tornadoes were seen in the area.
“We were literally half a mile from his house, and everything was all clear. Out of nowhere, it starts raining and I started recording — everything starts going to hell basically.” In a video Villaseñor mentioned, debris is seen flying through the air, and uprooted trees lie on the ground and houses are broken.
“I was like, this is probably it. I’m probably dead,” he added. “At one point, the van was shaking really bad to the point that I thought it was like to flip over. I was just shaking. I couldn’t control my hands.”