April 27th, 2011
11:41 PM ET

Live blog: 42 killed in Southern storms; heavy damage in Tuscaloosa

An apparent tornado cut through the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, area shortly after 5 p.m. CT (6 p.m. ET).

[Updated at 11:41 p.m. ET] Three deaths have been confirmed in Ringgold, Georgia, after severe storms moved through late Wednesday, bringing the five-state death toll from Tuesday night's and Wednesday's storms in the South to 42, according to authorities.

In Ringgold, eight people were taken to a hospital, according to Gary Sisk with the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department. There was no word on the severity of the injuries, he said.

The town in northwest Georgia was hit particularly hard. One tornado appeared to remain on the ground for at least a mile, said Sisk, adding that some buildings were completely demolished.

At least 25 people have been killed in Alabama, including 15 in Tuscaloosa; at least 11 were killed in Mississippi; one was killed in Arkansas; and one other person was killed in Georgia, according to authorities.

[Updated at 11:23 p.m. ET] An apparent tornado struck the northern Georgia community of Ringgold in Catoosa County, damaging multiple structures including a hotel, which has collapsed, Georgia Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Crystal Paulk-Buchanan said. Information on injuries in Ringgold wasn't immediately available.

An apparent tornado also was reported in southern Georgia's Walker County, where 30 homes were destroyed, Paulk-Buchanan said.

[Updated at 11:02 p.m. ET] Storm-related deaths have now been reported in Tennessee and Georgia, bringing the five-state death toll from Tuesday night's and Wednesday's storms in the South to 39, according to authorities.

One person was killed in Trenton in Georgia's Dade County, and at least one person was killed in Tennessee, officials in those state said.

At least 25 people have been killed in Alabama, including 15 in Tuscaloosa; at least 11 were killed in Mississippi; and one was killed in Arkansas, according to authorities.

[Updated at 10:28 p.m. ET] At least 15 people were killed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Wednesday as severe storms swept through the city, Mayor Walter Maddox told reporters.

Statewide in Alabama, at least 25 people in died as a result of storms and tornadoes, the state's emergency management director told CNN Wednesday. At least 11 people were killed in Mississippi and one was killed in Arkansas as a result of the storms.

In Tuscaloosa, hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed, and hundreds more were damaged, Maddox said. Dozens of roads are impassable, he said. Maddox said the city's infrastructure had been "decimated," noting that thousands of residents were without power.

Video from CNN affiliates there showed a massive whirling cloud darkening the sky as it approached Tuscaloosa shortly after 5 p.m. CT.

The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa has canceled classes and suspended normal operations for Thursday, the university said on its website.

[Updated at 10:17 p.m. ET] At least 11 people were killed in Tuesday night's and Wednesday's severe storms in Mississippi, the state's emergency management agency reported Wednesday. This brings the three-state death toll from the Tuesday-Wednesday storms in the South to 37.

In Mississippi, more than 40 injuries have been reported by local officials as a result of the storms, the agency said, and the number of deaths could rise.

At least 25 people have been killed in Alabama, and one was killed in Arkansas, according to authorities.

[Updated at 8:59 p.m. ET] The death toll from Wednesday's severe storms in the South has risen to 31. At least 25 were killed in Alabama, five in Mississippi and one in Arkansas, according to authorities.

Storms packing high winds and the possibility of tornadoes still are bearing down on portions of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and eastern Tennessee.

"Particularly dangerous situation" tornado watches are in effect for parts of southeastern Mississippi (until 10 p.m. CT); much of northern and western Alabama (until 10 p.m CT); east-central Alabama (until 1 a.m. CT); much of Tennessee (until midnight CT); parts of northern and western Georgia (until 2 a.m. ET); northwestern South Carolina (until 2 a.m. ET); and parts of eastern North Carolina (until 2 a.m. ET), according to the National Weather Service.

A "particularly dangerous situation" watch is issued when there is a high risk of multiple strong tornadoes.

[Updated at 8:51 p.m. ET] A large tornado is on the ground in Cherokee County, Alabama, about to cross into western Georgia, the National Weather Service said. The city of Rome, Georgia, appears to be in the path of the tornado.

[Updated at 8:48 p.m. ET] At least 25 people in Alabama died Wednesday as a result of severe storms and tornadoes, the state's emergency management director, Art Faulkner, told CNN.

[Updated at 8:14 p.m. ET] The following video shows the twister that hit Tuscaloosa, Alabama, shortly after 5 p.m. CT:

[Updated at 8:01 p.m. ET] Updates on tornado watches:

"Particularly dangerous situation" tornado watches are in effect for parts of southeastern Mississippi (until 10 p.m. CT); much of northern and western Alabama (until 10 p.m CT); east-central Alabama (until 1 a.m. CT); much of Tennessee (until midnight CT); parts of northern and western Georgia (until 2 a.m. ET); northwestern South Carolina (until 2 a.m. ET); and parts of eastern North Carolina (until 2 a.m. ET), according to the National Weather Service.

A "particularly dangerous situation" watch is issued when there is a high risk of multiple strong tornadoes.

Regular tornado watches are in effect - expiring at various times tonight or early tomorrow - for parts of Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New York.

[Updated at 7:18 p.m. ET] Authorities in Alabama have received unconfirmed reports of at least 12 deaths as a result of severe storms and tornadoes hitting the state, Gov. Robert Bentley said Wednesday evening.

"We don't know exactly yet how many lives have been lost. Unconfirmed, we have at least 12, and possibly 13," Bentley told reporters. "But we will continue, obviously, to find out that number, and we will also monitor the injuries that we have across the state and respond to those."

Earlier, authorities said Wednesday's storms killed six people in Alabama. Also killed Wednesday were five people in Mississippi and one person in Arkansas, according to authorities. Hundreds of thousands of people are without power.

[Updated at 6:55 p.m. ET] The Tuscaloosa (Alabama) Sheriff's Department is getting reports of major structural damage inside and outside the city limits after a major storm or tornado hit the area less than an hour ago, Sgt. Andy Norris said.

The department is getting reports of trees on homes, roofs collapsed at homes and businesses. Many people are calling 911, saying they are trapped, Norris said. The department has not immediately received any reports of deaths.

Video from CNN affiliate WBMA showed a tornado hitting the area shortly after 5 p.m. CT (6 p.m. ET).

[Updated at 6:47 p.m. ET] A dangerous storm that earlier this evening produced a tornado that moved through Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is heading toward Birmingham, Alabama.

A tornado emergency has just been issued for Jefferson County, including the city of Birmingham.

[Updated at 6:22 p.m. ET] More information about a tornado that is believed to have struck the northern Alabama community of Cullman this afternoon: A roof was ripped off a courthouse, and a number of residences were pummeled, authorities said.

Mayor Max Thompson told CNN it appeared a tornado touched down on the west side of Cullman and then cut through the heart of the city, which has about 15,000 residents.

"Downtown was hit pretty hard," said Freddie Day of the Cullman Police Department. He said a number of ambulances had been dispatched throughout the city. It was not immediately known how many people were injured.

[Updated at 6:12 p.m. ET] Video from CNN affiliate WBMA shows a large tornado in or near the Alabama city of Tuscaloosa.

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado emergency for Tuscaloosa, Ralph, Fosters and Taylorville.

[Updated at 5:55 p.m. ET] The National Weather Service has issued a tornado emergency for the cities of Oakman and Parrish in Alabama's Walker County. A large tornado is reported to be on the ground heading for those areas, it said.

[Updated at 5:51 p.m. ET] A number of homes and businesses were "hit pretty hard" by a storm that included a tornado in Cullman, Alabama, said Freddie Day of the Cullman Police Department.

Damage to the Cullman Regional Medical Center - which emergency management officials had said may have been hit by the tornado - it was confined to the roof, a witness, Summer Frost, said. No storm-related injuries at the hospital have been reported.

The severe weather also caused a natural gas line to rupture, though the extent of the damage was not immediately known, Day said.

[Updated at 5:37 p.m. ET] A large tornado has been reported five miles southeast of Ashcraft Corner, Alabama, moving northeast at 55 mph, the National Weather Service says.

The towns of West Corona, Corona, Gamble and Manchester appeared to be in the direct path of this tornado. The National Weather Service has declared a tornado emergency for New Lexington, Concord and Moore's Bridge.

[Updated at 5:04 p.m. ET] WBMA has video of Wednesday afternoon's tornado in Cullman, Alabama.

The tornado was believed to have struck Cullman Regional Medical Center, emergency management officials said. Hospital officials declared a "code d" - a disaster - at the facility, a switchboard operator at the hospital told CNN.

"Something hit them," switchboard operator Sharon Barnett said.

[Updated at 4:46 p.m. ET] The death toll from Wednesday's storms in the South has risen to 12, including six in Alabama, five in Mississippi and one in Arkansas, authorities said. Hundreds of thousands of people are without power.

Storms packing high winds and the possibility of tornadoes still are bearing down on portions of Mississippi, Alabama, north Georgia and eastern Tennessee. A number of tornado warnings are currently in effect for parts of Alabama, and emergency management officials believe a tornado struck Cullman, Alabama, earlier today (see below).

[Updated at 4:22 p.m. ET] Emergency management officials believe that a tornado has struck Cullman Regional Medical Center in northern Alabama. A switchboard operator at the hospital told CNN that officials declared a disaster at the facility.

[Updated at 4:07 p.m. ET] A tornado was on the ground northeast of Cullman, Alabama, as of a few minutes ago, the National Weather Service said.

The towns of Good Hope, Baldwin, West Point and Fairview appear to be in the direct path of tornado. A tornado emergency has been declared by the National Weather Service for Alabama's northern Cullman and southeastern Morgan counties.

[Updated at 3:21 p.m. ET] The people killed as a result of severe weather in the South on Wednesday include six in Alabama, the Alabama Emergency Management Agency said.

[Updated at 1:26 p.m. ET] Two more deaths have been reported in Mississippi as a result of severe weather Wednesday, bringing to 11 the number of people who have died in the South as a result of powerful storms.

[Updated at 12:32 p.m. ET] The National Weather Service has issued a "particularly dangerous situation" tornado watch for portions of southeastern Arkansas, northeastern Louisiana and much of Mississippi until 7 p.m. (8 p.m. ET). A particularly dangerous situation watch is issued when there is a high risk of multiple strong tornadoes.

[Updated at 12:13 p.m. ET] A total of four people have died in Alabama as a result of severe weather, said Alabama Emergency Management spokeswoman Yasamie August, bringing the total deaths in Wednesday's storms to nine in three states.

[Updated at 10:34 a.m. ET] Another round of severe weather was ripping through parts of the South Wednesday, packing several possible tornadoes, killing at least five people and leaving a trail of destruction and damage.

The death toll from the storms increased Wednesday. Four people were reported dead in Mississippi after severe weather moved through overnight and Wednesday morning, according to the state Emergency Management Agency. Arkansas officials said earlier one person died there Tuesday night.

[Updated at 9:56 a.m. ET] A "heavy rescue" was under way at Lake Guntersville State Park in Marshall County, where a number of RVs were parked at the campground, said Yasamie August, Alabama Emergency Management spokeswoman. There have been no reports of injuries thus far, she said.

However, a second wave of storms was approaching, she said.

"Major damage" was reported in six counties, and it appears to be more widespread than that from an April 15 storm, August said. Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley's office was getting a state of emergency declaration ready, she said.

In Lauderdale County, in far northwestern Alabama, an Emergency Management Agency employee was injured by broken glass after he witnessed what he said was a tornado while in his vehicle near the town of Oakland, the Weather Service said. A window blew out in his vehicle, CNN affiliate WHNT-TV in Huntsville, Alabama, reported. Damage was also reported to a church and a residence.

CNN affiliate WBRC-TV in Birmingham, Alabama also reported widespread damage including  downed trees, destroyed property and reports of blocked roads. A truck was blown into a ditch on Interstate 22 in Alabama, WBRC reported.

Several school systems were dismissing students early or were closed Wednesday because of the weather, The Birmingham News reported.

[Updated at 9:30 a.m. ET] Some 269,000 people were without power, most of them in the metro Birmingham area, as of about 8:20 a.m. (9:20 a.m. ET), said Michael Sznajderman, spokesman for Alabama Power, which covers the southern two-thirds of the state. "We're chipping away" at them, he said, but crews may have to pause as the second line of storms approaches.

[Updated at 9:15 a.m. ET]  Three people died overnight in Mississippi as severe weather swept the state, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said Wednesday. Arkansas officials said earlier one person died there Tuesday night.

[Posted at 8:30 a.m. ET] A possible tornado has touched down in Marshall County, Alabama, Wednesday and there are reports of people trapped in homes and at a campground, Lee Rosser, a logistics specialist at the county's Emergency Management Agency, told CNN.

There are also numerous reports of damage all over the county, Rosser said.

CNN affiliate WSFA-TV reported fallen trees and power lines in central Alabama after storms passed through.

Several trees have fallen onto roadways, including at least two on the University of Alabama-Birmingham campus, according to WFSA. Also a roof was also pulled off a Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport, WFSA reported.

Several county schools systems in the state’s midsection closed or delayed opening in preparation for the storms, Alabama media outlets reported.

Post by: ,
Filed under: Alabama • Arkansas • Georgia • Mississippi • Tennessee • Weather
soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. banasy

    I hope there was no loss of life. One can recover from damage to their home; death....not so much. May they rebuild better than ever!

    April 27, 2011 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Blake S. Davis

      Where's OBAMA? Oh – this is happening is red states, so he could care less – he's too busy making jokes about his birth certificate.

      April 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. dan

    ya ruffnutt , cause rain is on the same scale as a tornado.
    tool.

    April 27, 2011 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. RUFFNUTT

    hello... it's spring time... of course theres going to be tornados..

    i a few months they'll be reporting the same story with a few word changes...

    A possible HEAT WAVE in marshall County, Alabama, Wednesday and there are reports of people trapped in homes and at a campground, Lee Rosser, a logistics specialist at the county's Emergency Management Agency, told CNN

    There are also numerous reports of HEAT STROKE all over the county, Rosser said

    see...

    April 27, 2011 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      Hello back...you left your pet in the rain? that makes you a dog meanie!

      April 27, 2011 at 11:06 am | Report abuse |
    • itsacatatatata

      wow, your so misinformed, it's not just any Tornado, reports say it could be the BIGGEST STORM IN ALABAMA HISTORY. plus it destroyed a medical center and killed 12 people, I'm sorry, it may just be me, but i have this thing called a heart, and I'm not about to try and make light of this situation, it's serious, it really upsets me how careless people can be over the internet.

      April 27, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • getreal

      I do have to agree on a certain level with Ruffnutt, this is the natural order of things people are just to ignorant and protected thinking "nothing will never happen to me" things do happen its called being prepared, death is also protected from most individuals but some of us have to see it everyday. It is a terrible event but its only the biggest storm RECORDED, this country is fairly new to us still when compared with others.

      April 27, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mad Hatter

    April showers bring may flowers. Then in June and July the heat burns them up. And the cycle continues.

    April 27, 2011 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Shane

      MadHatter, did you see the picture above of the tornado that hit Tuscaloosa? It was a mile wide. April showers? What is wrong with you?

      April 27, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Mad Hatter

    Errtu is as bad as trump with trying to get free advertising for idiotic needs.

    April 27, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe Mann

      You know I watch CNN regular but the coverage of Obama's birth certificate takes the cake.
      Not only is this stupid, the outcome makes the republicans look like total morons.
      Like the baby boomer are out of control and cant keep the sand in the sandbox.
      The moronic mentality bleeds out to CNN for covering what appears to be totaly banal.
      Is the a pre school news organization? Looks like it. There are a lot of other things top talk about.
      Frankly it makes most americans look like they are either Stupid or just like fighting with each other over who has more candy... I never make any comments but really.. this morning was over the top.

      April 27, 2011 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      Lol

      April 27, 2011 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Blake S. Davis

      The whole birther thing was publisized by Democrats – no Republican elected official or party leader has ever said word one about the birth issue. Why do you think OBAMA waited until Trump forced his hand before giving out the certificate – and spent $2 million dollars not to reveal it? He was waiting until right before the election to do it – this is Alinsky politics at its best. But, it is the POTUS playing games here – which shows you how little character this guy has.

      It's a great way to get people's minds off the crappy economy and OBAMA's dismal record everywhere else. A great fund raising tool too.

      The Republicans know this and desperately want the issue to die – but the Democrats want it to continue. That's what's really going on – you see the Media matters and Moveon.Org people posting all over the blogs posing as Republicans obsessed with the birth issue – like I said – Alinsky politics.

      April 28, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Hey Blake Davis – I guess you missed the remarks make by Bill Posey, Roy Blunt, Nathan Deal, Michelle Bachman and the caribou creep, not to mention a dozen other elected Republicans and/or party leaders. You need to stop taking fake entertainment as gospel and start finding out facts for yourself. Oh and by the way – Obama released his b-cert in 2008 when he first started campaigning for POTUS. The Republicans have kept this issue alive and now Trump has so much egg on his face, it's starting to rub off onto all you racists – becasue face it – this birther issue is just a mask for your deep seated bigotry. All Trump is doing now is making sure Obama is elected for a 2nd term. I hope he keeps on talking. I hope the birthers keep on talking. I hope the elected officials keep on talking. Every word out of your mouths is a guarantee 2nd Term for Obama.

      In other news, the stocks are up, in fact at a ten year high, economic conditions are improving after the death spin the Republicans put us thru over the last 10 years. But yea keep harping on how Obama is 'qualified'. LOL!

      April 28, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jerry James

    Well love to see Americas love and compassion for fellow Americans. I have seen a lot of storms in my life. This one is a little special. Were talking about a line of storms a couple of hundred miles long with hurricane force that has devastated people from all walks of life, and people of every color.

    April 27, 2011 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
  7. RUFFNUTT

    people are going to die every day.. seems like all these stories are just about the death tolls... i want some stories about happy stuff..

    April 27, 2011 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      diddling the dog???
      You yuckie dog meanie!

      April 27, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. lhb

    And what great state do you live in?

    April 27, 2011 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. jb in texas

    Jb in texas godspeed to those who lost loved ones. and to the rest of you, good luck rebuilding. god bless america whether you like it or not.

    April 27, 2011 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. myw

    Ruffnutt u must be a complete imbecile! Please spare the rest of us from your ignorant comments.

    April 27, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Aramis

    How can Don(Juan) Trump claim credit for the president showing his long form birth certicicate. When in fact he was proven wrong again. Thank you

    April 27, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. tara davis

    what are you going to do with southern storms because this is depressing and i hope my southern relatives are orite because they live in different states like california, texas arkansas oklahoma andgeorga florida north carolina virginia and other states so that is alot so i hope they do not get injured or killed by the twister

    April 27, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Eric

    Cool story bro

    April 27, 2011 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. patricia

    i can't believe that cnn allows letters like this. (taliban/northamerica)

    April 27, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Your Homeroom Teacher

    Hey kid, if you're going to risk jail time for making these comments, at least get your terror groups straight: Osama Bin Laden is the leader of Al-Qaeda, not the Taliban. There must be plenty of other stupid things you can do to get attention besides pose as an enemy of your own country on a public message board. Now, get off the computer and go do your homework!

    April 27, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7