Alabama tornado kills three as homes are destroyed and thousands lose power | Alabama From “World news | The Guardian”

At least three people have been killed and multiple injuries reported after deadly tornadoes tore through Alabama on Thursday, toppling trees, demolishing homes and knocking out power to thousands.Firefighters said a family was able to safely escape their toppled home in the Eagle Point subdivision, near Birmingham. In the nearby city of Pelham,in Shelby county, authorities posted video and photos showing large trees blocking roads and damaged utility poles leaning menacingly over streets littered with debris from badly damaged homes. More than 20,000 customers were without power in the state.“We can confirm local residential structures have been completely destroyed,” the sheriff of Shelby county, John Samaniego, told the Associated Press.Search and rescue efforts were complicated as strong weather continued to rake across the region.The storm inflicted extensive damage, including to numerous homes and a civic center, police said. Utility lines had also been downed along several highways, police said, warning people to stay off the road and away from tornado-damaged areas.At least three fatalities and an unknown number of injuries were reported.A firefighter surveys damage to a house in Eagle Point. Photograph: Butch Dill/APMaj Clay Hammac, of the Shelby county sheriff’s department, said they “have been told to be prepared for another round of storms”. Up to 4in (10cm) of rain with higher amounts possible is expected in northern Alabama, according to the National Weather Service in Huntsville.The destruction was part of a broad swath of violent weather sweeping across the deep south. Forecasters had warned of dangerous thunderstorms, flash floods and possible twisters from eastern Mississippi into western Georgia, and northward into Tennessee and Kentucky. Flash flood warnings and watches extended to the western Carolinas.Mississippi also had a storm-related death on Wednesday. Ester Jarrell, 62, died when a large tree toppled over onto her mobile home after heavy rain soaked the ground, a Wilkinson County official told the Associated Press.Alabama’s governor, Kay Ivey, issued an emergency declaration for 46 counties as the severe weather approached, and officials opened shelters in and around Birmingham. Ivey said “significant and dangerous weather continues to impact portions of Alabama”, according to a statement on Twitter.“Tragically, we are receiving reports of loss of life. Unfortunately the day is not over yet.”

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