BIRMINGHAM, AL (WSFA) - A powerful weather system has produced tornadoes and near hurricane-force winds in central Alabama and forecasters say it's only the beginning of what will be a day of extraordinarily rough weather.
An early-morning wave of thunderstorms produced widespread damage in north and central Alabama, damaging homes and businesses and leaving almost a quarter million Alabama Power customers without power.
Winds of up to 70mph blew through central Alabama including the Birmingham and Tuscaloosa areas. In Tuscaloosa, oak trees are down near the University of Alabama and emergency officials reported damage to homes north of Birmingham.
There is a wind advisory in effect until midnight, which means sustained winds of 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph are likely until the cold front passes through Alabama. Motorists should be cautious, especially those driving SUVs, trucks or vans.
WSFA 12 News Meteorologist Josh Johnson says today's storms will be cellular in nature, which means they will pop up in various locations and could be locally severe.