A strong storm system with winds in excess of 50mph tore across the Southeast early Monday, killing at least three people and doing excessive damage to at least two states. The storm spurned tornadoes which ripped buildings and homes apart and knocked down trees and power lines. Dozens of injuries have thus far been reported in Jefferson County, Alabama ranging from cuts and bruises to broken bones. It also is being reported that numerous homes in the county have been destroyed.
Emergency officials are working to find people who may be trapped or injured. Emergency road crews are accessing the damage and clearing roadways which have been made impassible. Cedar point, AL which is northeast of Birmingham was especially hard hit by the suspected twister(s) as there are numerous reports of trees on top of houses and of residents having to step over downed trees to make their way down residential streets. Many trees in Cedar Point were snapped in half from the dangerous storm activity and there is debris spread across the small community.
The American Red Cross and Salvation Army are sending in teams to assist victims of the storm. There are also reports of damage coming in from Chilton and Perry counties south of Birmingham in the state’s mid-section. The governor of Alabama Robert Bentley has already declared a state of emergency which means that funding resources can be used to aid local officials. A total of seven counties in Alabama were damaged by the storm with most being in Jefferson and Chilton counties.
In the rural community of Oak Grove near Birmingham, entire homes were flattened, windows were blown out of vehicles and roofs of houses were torn partially off in the darkness of the early morning hours Monday. Many residents of Oak Grove report hearing a loud “roar” at around 3:30 am when the bad weather struck. This community took a major hit from tornadoes in April of 2011 when over 230 people were killed in Alabama although this time it was not the same neighborhoods that took the brunt of the damage. Thus far, Oak Park has lost one resident in this storm as an elderly man has lost his life. In nearby Trussville, many homes also were flattened and there are numerous reports of injuries there.
There were possible tornadoes in Arkansas as well. The storms also produced large hail and high winds as they moved through portions of Arkansas, Tennessee, Illinois and Mississippi.