Alabama residents are sifting through the damage left by yesterday's tornadoes, leaving two dead and 100 injured. After meeting with emergency officials, Gov. Robert Bentley declared a state of emergency in all 67 counties as the damage is assessed and emergency workers begin their recovery efforts.
Only weeks after the deadliest tornado of 2011, Alabama residents endured another series of twisters, with at least two touching down as part of severe weather that did heavy damage across the states. The tornadoes claimed the lives of two residents and injured over 100 on Monday night. The Red Cross reported that over 200 homes were destroyed. Just about the same amount of residences were heavily damaged, reported the Associated Press.
I opened the door and it blew off. (The wind) lasted 15 minutes, but it seemed like an eternity, said Anthony Wright, 44. Wright, his wife Deborah and their granddaughter Iasia Burnett survived a direct hit from the Alabama tornado, reported The Birmingham News. They had been staying the night in their mobile home. It was completely destroyed, but they it through with their lives. Everyone else from Chilton County survived the storm and no one was seriously injured.
Maplesville took a hard hit. Former mayor, W.C. Hayes surveyed the damage to his town and was reportedly astonished there was no loss of life.
This could have been so much worse, especially given the time it came through, said Hayes, according to The Birmingham Needs.
The community of Oak Grove suffered damage last April and was hit hard again on Monday officials explained.
I would really like to never see another tornado again, said Jhan Powers. Powers, a resident of Oak Grove, witnessed her neighbors mobile homes get destroyed by the tornadoes, reported the Associated Press. Now, she watched he neighbors sort through their belongings to see what they can salvage. When you see this destruction, how can you not take it seriously?
Powers' brothers were killed in April 1998 during a tornado that killed 34 people, injured 260 and destroyed the local high school.
A spokeswoman for the Gov. Bentley reportedly said that he will be in Centerpoint and Clay in Jefferson County on Tuesday morning to survey the damage. The two Alabama residents that were killed were reportedly from Jefferson County. He will then head to Maplesville in the afternoon to assess the damage there and inspect the town's storm shelter, where many residents survived the storm. He plans to discuss the need for more community shelters and the lessons the state learned from the deadly tornadoes that rocked Alabama last April.
Some roads are impassable, there are a number of county roads where you have either debris down, trees down, damage from homes, said Yasamie Richardson on Monday, a spokeswoman for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, according to the Associated Press.
Arkansas was also hit with twisters. At least five twisters touched down inside the state. There were no injuries reported at this time. However, roughly 13,400 homes were without power on Monday morning, according to Entergy Arkansas, Inc, a local power supply company.
This rare January weather event is caused by a cold front moving its way to the edge of colder air that cuts into unusually warm and moist air. Twisters begin forming as the powerful winds gusts begin rotating do to the mixed climate.
Widespread tornado outbreaks are not expected in the area, but experts are advising residents that to be careful of the destructive force, reported the Daily Mail.
Tornado warnings were also issued in parts of Tennessee and Mississippi.
The Red Cross Lists Several Ways to Prepare for a Tornado Before the Storm Hits on its Web Site:
- During any storm, listen to local news or a NOAA Weather Radio to stay informed about watches and warnings.
- Know your community's warning system. Communities have different ways of warning residents about tornados, with many having sirens intended for outdoor warning purposes.
- Pick a safe room in your home where household members and pets may gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
- The safest place to be is underground
- Practice periodic tornado drills so that everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching.
- Consider having your safe room reinforced. Plans for reinforcing an interior room to provide better protection can be found on the FEMA Web site at http://www.fema.gov/plan/prevent/rms/rmsp453.shtm.
- Prepare for high winds by removing diseased and damaged limbs from trees.
- Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.
- Watch for tornado danger signs:
- Dark, often greenish clouds-a phenomenon caused by hail
- Wall cloud-an isolated lowering of the base of a thunderstorm
- Cloud of debris
- Large hail
- Funnel cloud-a visible rotating extension of the cloud base
- Roaring noise