Deadly tornadoes hit Alabama, leaving path of destruction

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Updated Mar 26, 2021 5:59 AM EDT

More than 30 million Americans across the South faced the threat of severe weather after multiple deadly tornadoes hit the region Thursday. They sent sparks and debris flying across northeast Alabama.

A large tornado hit metropolitan Atlanta’s Coweta County around midnight Friday, prompting a tornado emergency for the city of Newnan and surrounding areas. No deaths were reported. 

At least five people were killed by storms Thursday in Calhoun County, Alabama, northeast of Birmingham. There were also reports of people trapped in flattened homes.

Much of Alabama was under a state of emergency as a large tornado left a trail of destruction in an area 50 miles long from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham earlier Thursday. Tornado and flash flood alerts have been posted across Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. 

Powerful winds uprooted trees and sent them crashing onto rooftops. Some of the worst damage happened at the Eagle Point subdivision in Shelby County, Alabama. Torn-off roofs revealed the insides of bedrooms and drone footage showed homeowners sifting through debris. 

Severe Weather South
The wreckage of a home destroyed by a tornado south of Birmingham, Alabama, on March 25, 2021. 

Butch Dill / AP


“It was scary,” said homeowner Carol Willis. “The noise was unbelievable.” 

Willis’s garage was damaged but her home was mostly spared. She described the frightening moments the tornado barreled through her community. 

“I was standing in this bedroom window, I looked out and it started getting dark. I said, well I better get out of this room. I had a metal garbage can. I said, well let me run to my utility room. I put the garbage can over my head, went in there, I stayed no more than two minutes. I came out and I saw all of this. I couldn’t believe it, it went so fast,” she said. 

The city of Pelham was also hit hard. Just 20 miles south of Birmingham, at least 14,000 people in the area are without power. 


Tracking the dangerous tornado outbreak

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