NATIONAL NEWS

Crews Search For Survivors After Alabama Tornado Kills 1, Injures Dozens

Jan 26, 2021, 2:01 PM

What used to be homes are now mangled piles of debris, with personal belongings strewn across lawns and streets.

That’s the new reality near Birmingham, Alabama, after a “large and extremely dangerous” tornado late Monday night annihilated parts of Jefferson County.

The storm killed at least one person and injured dozens more, officials said. The twister also ripped a hotel apart and tore off part of a church’s roof.

About 30 people in Fultondale were injured, the city’s fire chief said Tuesday.

“Seventeen patients were tak(en) to the ER, with various injuries and some critical,” Fire Chief Justin McKenzie said. At least 11 people were treated on the scene.

A young man, possibly a teen, was killed when he was trapped in the basement of his home, Fultondale Police Chief D.P. Smith said, according to AL.com.

Several of his family members were critically injured, Smith said.

The family had taken shelter in the basement, but apparently a tree fell on the house and caused the home to collapse.

“They were doing what they were supposed to be doing,” the police chief said, according to AL.com.

Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Walter Gonsoulin said a ninth-grade student at Fultondale High School was killed in the tornado. He was 14.

“Out of respect for the family, we don’t want to release too much information at this particular time,” Gonsoulin said.

The superintendent said the storm caused significant damage to Fultondale High School, forcing it to close for the rest of the school year.

The tornado that struck Fultondale had winds of at least 135 mph, according to the National Weather Service.

Six people trapped in their homes were rescued Tuesday morning, McKenzie said.

Rescue teams are still sifting through a hotel that collapsed overnight after most primary structures were cleared out, the fire chief said.

The tornado spawned from a line of storms among two large systems that have put more than 100 million people under winter weather alerts.

Tornado warnings and watches have expired in parts of Alabama and Georgia. But the same storm system is now expected to dump snow in states farther north.

‘All of a sudden, the windows blew out in my room’

Parts of the Hampton Inn in Fultondale were obliterated, video from CNN affiliate WVTM shows.

Hotel guest Richard Ring was watching TV when rumblings from the storm drowned out the program’s sound, he told WVTM.

He went to the bathroom and crawled under the sink.

“All of a sudden, the windows blew out in my room,” Ring said. “The lights went out. And the sirens shrieked. And it was just surreal.”

Guests staying at the hotel escaped and sought shelter in a nearby restaurant when another line of storms came through, WVTM reported.

About 9,000 people live in Fultondale, just north of Birmingham.

‘We will have a long day ahead’

At 10:54 p.m. local time Monday, the National Weather Service Birmingham “confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado was located over Chalkville, or near Trussville, moving east at 50 mph.”

Early Tuesday morning, the NWS Birmingham tweeted it “will inspect the damage to determine the strength of the tornado” that impacted the Fultondale area.

The city of Center Point, about 13 miles northeast of Birmingham, also saw “quite a bit of damage” from the storm, Mayor Bobby Scott told CNN affiliate WBRC. About 16,000 people live there.

The back half of Hilldale Baptist Church’s roof is missing, and the city’s recreation center also suffered damage, Scott said.

“Looks like we will have a long day ahead,” Scott said. “Hopefully we can get everything covered up.”

There was a bit of good news, the mayor said: “We don’t have any injuries to report right now, so we’re definitely grateful for that.”

The Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency urged people to stay out of the area as first responders try to reach the most damaged sites.

“On top of road dangers such as power lines and debris … traffic is clogging the roads,” the agency tweeted.

Eleven schools in the area will be closed for in-person and virtual learning Tuesday following the storm, the Jefferson County EMA tweeted.

Storm system expected to dump snow in other states

A tornado warning was issued Monday night for Jefferson County, Alabama, NWS Birmingham tweeted. The agency later issued tornado warnings and watches for several counties as the line of storms moved northeast through the state.

The storm system is now expected to dump significant snow from the Central Plains to the mid-Atlantic Coast through Tuesday night.

The deepest snow will pile up across Iowa. Some snow will be very heavy, with rates of up to 2 inches an hour, the Weather Prediction Center said.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Italy. Lazio. Rome. Via della Conciliazione. St. Peter Basilica. (Photo by: Fotia Francesco/AGF/Uni...
Julia Buckley, CNN

Tourist smashes two statues in the Vatican

A tourist smashed two ancient Roman sculptures into pieces at the Vatican on Wednesday.
1 day ago
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - DECEMBER 03:  Actors Brad Pitt (L) and Angelina Jolie arrive at the premiere of...
ANDREW DALTON AP Entertainment Writer

Angelina Jolie details Brad Pitt abuse allegations in court filing

A court filing Tuesday from Angelina Jolie alleges that on a 2016 flight, Brad Pitt grabbed her by the head and shook her then choked one of their children and struck another when they tried to defend her.
1 day ago
surveillance image of possible shooter...
Associated Press

Police say California serial killer ‘on a mission’ in slayings

A California serial killer seems to be "on a mission" throughout the fatal shooting of six men and the wounding of one woman dating back to last year.
1 day ago
...
Andrew Adams

Relatives scramble to relocate Florida woman to Utah after she lost everything to Ian

Family members were scrambling Tuesday to get a relative in Florida safely to Utah after she lost everything to Hurricane Ian.
1 day ago
FILE - The logo of the Organization of the Petroleoum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is seen outside of...
David McHugh, AP Business Writer

OPEC+ makes big oil cut to boost prices; pump costs may rise

OPEC+ alliance makes big cut to world oil production to boost sagging prices, which could mean rising costs at the pump
1 day ago
FILE: Photos of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins are displayed before a vigil held to honor her at A...
Chloe Melas, CNN

Alec Baldwin reaches settlement with Halyna Hutchins’ family

The family of Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer killed on the "Rust" movie set in 2021, and Alec Baldwin have reached a settlement.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Hand turning a thermostat knob to increase savings by decreasing energy consumption. Composite imag...
Lighting Design

5 Lighting Tips to Save Energy and Money in Your Home

Advances in lighting technology make it easier to use smart features to cut costs. Read for tips to save energy by using different lighting strategies in your home.
Portrait of smiling practitioner with multi-ethnic senior people...
Summit Vista

How retirement communities help with healthy aging

There are many benefits that retirement communities contribute to healthy aging. Learn more about how it can enhance your life, or the life of your loved ones.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to choose what MBA program is right for you: Ask these questions before you apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Cloud storage technology with 3d rendering drawer with files in cloud...
PC Laptops

How backing up your computer can help you relieve stress

Don't wait for something bad to happen before backing up your computer. Learn how to protect your data before disaster strikes.
young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Crews Search For Survivors After Alabama Tornado Kills 1, Injures Dozens