Recovery and search efforts continued in the southeast on Friday after over 30 tornadoes touched down. The string of storms took the lives of at least nine people and left behind a path of destruction.
According to new reports, at least 35 tornadoes were recorded across three states, including Kentucky, Georgia, and Alabama.
In addition, we now know that at least seven people were killed due to the storms in Alabama’s Autauga County. Across state lines in Georiga, one of the victims included a five-year-old boy. He died after a tree fell on a vehicle.
On Friday, rescue teams continued their search for missing persons as state officials scrambled to ensure those in damaged homes were accounted for, according to state emergency management official Ricky Adams.
“Our top priority today again continues to be life-saving in any of those areas where search and rescue is being conducted,” he added.
According to Autauga, Alabama coroner Buster Barber, authorities were still “finding more bodies” on Friday morning. However, it was unclear whether that was reflected in the current death toll.
Alabama residents recall the terrifying moment as tornadoes made landfall
Meanwhile, several miles away in Selma, Alabama, a massive tornado left significant destruction in the historic town. At a local tax office, Selma resident and tax office employee Deborah Brown said she and others had to run to safety after seeing what she recalled appeared to be a tornado. She said it looked like the twister was “rolling down the street.”
“We could have been gone, y’all,” Brown said in a video she posted to Facebook. She added,”We had to run for cover. We had to go run and jump in the closet.”
While the damage from the storms was extensive, Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr. said on Friday during a news conference that the town has not reported any known fatalities.
According to National Weather Service Meteorologist Gerald Satterwhite, the tornado, believed to be either an EF-2 or EF-3, in Selma was on the ground for at least 50 miles. It also wreaked havoc on at least seven counties. He also believes the twister had wind gusts of at least 111 mph.
In addition, the string of storms also left over 40,000 residences and businesses without power as of Friday morning across the two states, per reports from PowerOutage.us. Moreover, in Selma, city officials are now urging residents to conserve water after outages impacted treatment facilities.
The latest batch of storms also marked yet another severe weather event to turn deadly in the US. At the same time, millions across the country in California are dealing with torrential rainfall and flooding. The ongoing storms have claimed the lives of at least 18 people and left thousands in the dark.