As deadly storms battered southern states, including Alabama, five people died in a tornado that destroyed houses, splintered trees. Crumpled businesses, blaring tornado sirens, and howling winds swept through areas of western Georgia early Friday.
Strong tornado ripped Alabama and Georgia
According to meteorologists, a massive, dangerous tornado ripped through metro Atlanta's Coweta County about midnight Friday, prompting a tornado warning for the city of Newnan and nearby communities. Several alerts of fallen trees and power lines were received, as per CNBC.
Newnan police requested people to "get off the roads," adding that emergency crews were surveying the area. According to the agency, the storm wiped out Newnan Utilities' phone and internet systems. Still, they were "well aware of downed cables, gas leakage, and several impassable highways," according to the company.
No deaths were immediately confirmed, according to Newnan Mayor Keith Brady. The powerful storm came after a pair of tornadoes passed through Alabama on Thursday, including one that flew about 100 miles through the state, the officials said.
Calhoun County Sheriff Matthew Wade said five people died in a tornado that destroyed a diagonal path through the county, mainly impacting rural areas, potentially preventing the death toll from being higher. "Our hearts, minds, and hopes are with the victims, and we will do whatever we can to let them know we love them," Wade said at an evening press conference.
John De Block, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham, said several tornadoes formed from a "supercell" of storms that later passed into Georgia. Due to the damage, many school districts were closed or delayed on Friday. Vast areas of Shelby County near Birmingham, Alabama's largest city, were severely affected.
Georgia town described as 'war zone' after a tornado
According to FOX 5 in Atlanta, the destruction included destroyed houses and fallen trees. Several residents were injured, and one man died of a heart attack, according to reports. The devastation was characterized as a "war zone" in many social media posts.
Due to extensive storm damage in many parts of the state, Newnan High School tweeted that all Coweta County Schools would be closed on Friday. WSB confirmed that several viewers said the high school was severely damaged.
According to a WSB reporter, the Newnan town square communities suffered the most destruction, with many trees and powerlines down. Early Friday, a series of tornadoes created by early spring "super cell" storms swept across Alabama and Georgia. Tornadoes took the lives of at least five people in Alabama, riddled with wrecked houses, splintered trees, and crumpled businesses.
The severe weather that swept Alabama areas and the area marked the most dreaded part of springtime in the Deep South: tornado season. With electricity knocked out to tens of thousands and residents now tasked with removing debris and rebuilding.
Though Alabama seemed to be the hardest hit by Thursday's tornadoes, forecasters cautioned of dangerous thunderstorms, flash floods, and potential tornadoes from eastern Mississippi to western Georgia and northward into Tennessee and Kentucky. During the night, flash flood warnings and alerts were also issued for the western Carolinas.
In east Alabama, the deaths were confirmed in Calhoun County, where one of the multiple twisters sprang from a "super cell" of storms that later moved into Georgia, said John De Block, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham.
In addition to the deaths in Alabama, a storm-related death occurred in Mississippi on Wednesday. Ester Jarrell, 62, was killed when a massive tree dropped on her mobile home in Wilkinson County after heavy rain soaked the ground, Fox News reported.