ALABAMA, United States.- A massive storm system ripping through the southern United States caused at least six deaths in central Alabama, where a tornado left roofless homes and downed trees in historic Selma, while another person was killed in Georgia , where strong winds left tens of thousands of people without electricity.
At least six people have been confirmed dead in Autauga County, Alabama, located 66 kilometers northeast of Selma, and authorities estimate that 40 to 50 homes were destroyed or damaged by the storms that tore through the county, it said. Ernie Baggett, the county’s director of emergency management.
At least 12 people were injured seriously enough for emergency crews to take them to hospitals, Baggett told The Associated Press, adding that he did not know the severity of the injuries. He said crews were focusing their efforts Thursday on cutting downed trees and searching for people who may be injured.
There are some houses that were completely destroyed and have not yet been inspected, emergency teams are still in the process of searching through the rubble.”
In Jackson, Georgia, a passenger died after a tree fell on the vehicle he was traveling in during a storm, Butts County Coroner Lacey Prue said. In that same county, located southeast of Atlanta, the storm apparently caused a train derailment, authorities said.
The National Weather Service received 33 separate tornado reports across the country as of Thursday night, with some tornado watches remaining in effect for Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. However, the reports have yet to be confirmed and some of them could be considered wind damage once assessments conclude in the coming days.
In Selma, a city whose name is part of the history of the civil rights movement, a tornado tore through the downtown area, collapsing brick buildings, toppling oak trees, flipping over vehicles and dangling power lines.