A tornado hit small communities in Alabama on Thursday and inflicted extensive damage, including at least three deaths and two injuries, as a giant supercell is expected to spawn further twisters in the US south.
The three fatalities occurred near in the Ohatchee and Wellington area, after a tornado touched down in the area about 109km (67 miles) west of Birmingham, the state capital, local news outlet WVTM 13 reported.
Another tornado downed utility lines along Highways 119 and 31 in Pelham, a city of about 20,000 people about 30km (20 miles) south of Birmingham, the Pelham Police Department said on Twitter.
“Extensive damage in Crosscreek community,” the police department said in a second tweet. “Please stay off the road and do not go into tornado damaged areas.”
WE CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH: PLEASE STAY OFF THE ROAD AND DO NOT GO INTO TORNADO DAMAGED AREAS.
— Pelham Police Dept (@PelhamPoliceAL) March 25, 2021
Pelham police posted pictures showing damaged homes and trees and power lines that had been knocked down.
Videos from Eagle Point, another city outside Birmingham, that were shared on social media showed widespread damage.
— WBRC FOX6 News (@WBRCnews) March 25, 2021
The National Weather Service warned that a large severe-weather cell would continue battering Alabama and small portions of neighbouring states with high-velocity winds, hail and tornadoes.
— NWS Huntsville (@NWSHuntsville) March 25, 2021
Authorities remain unsure of the extent of damage in Alabama, as the severe weather is continuing on Thursday afternoon, inhibiting search and research efforts.
Stephen Quinn, a reporter with local television station ABC33/40, said on Twitter that “multiple people pulled from their homes in Eagle Point subdivision and hospitalized. Extent of injuries unknown”.
Pelham police said on Twitter that “Numerous houses damaged” in the area, but no information on injuries was immediately available.