The South was hard hit on Wednesday after a powerhouse storm embedded tornadic thunderstorms tore through Mississippi Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia. The hardest hit was Alabama where 61 people confirmed dead. Hundreds injured. Tuscaloosa and Birmingham suffered widespread destruction. From WBRC-TV/HD “FOX 6 News“:
An especially violent spring storm tore through the state of Alabama on Wednesday, tearing a path of destruction across the state and killing at least 53 people.
In Tuscaloosa, a mile-wide tornado killed 15 people and injured hundreds, tossing boats from a store into an apartment complex, ripping holes in rooftops, and destroying a swath of retail establishments along a busy street.
Hundreds of buildings and homes were leveled by the tornado, and Wednesday night there were fears more victims could be buried beneath the rubble.
Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox says he expects the numbers of casualties to rise. Maddox planned to meet with members of the City Council to pass emergency powers, including a curfew, if necessary.
In a news conference, Maddox said the recovery of the city would be seen in the spirit of the people.
“Throughout Tuscaloosa, citizens are reaching out to each other and demonstrating that our faith will overcome all, even in this dark hour,” he said.
According to WBMA-TV “ABC 33/40 News”: Alabama Governor Gov. Robert Bentley activated the Alabama National Guard. 1400 men and women will help with rescue and cleanup throughout the state:
Gov. Robert Bentley is deploying about 1,400 Alabama National Guardsmen to provide assistance to the Alabama counties impacted by the severe weather.
The troops will be on the ground early Thursday to help with search and rescue operations, debris removal and provide security assistance to local law enforcement agencies.
University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa the flagship of the University System closed on Wednesday and Thursday because of the storms. Again ABC 33/40:
The University of Alabama has canceled classes for Thursday and suspended normal operations on campus after a deadly storm swept through the city.
Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox said there were 15 confirmed deaths Wednesday.
University officials say power outages at the school are widespread, but they have no reports of structural damage to buildings on campus.
Follow up with:
WVTM-TV/HD “News 13”
WIAT-TV/HD “CBS 42 News”