Governor Tours Damage as "Severe Weather Awareness Week" Kicks Off

Prattville, Ala. (WSFA) -- As "Severe Weather Awareness Week" kicks off Governor Bob Riley and numerous other officials toured the damage in heavily hit portions of Prattville on Monday.

Riley held a press conference at Noon and praised the fast response of agencies like FEMA  and departments like the Dept. of Public Safety, Dept. of Homeland Security and many others.

Upon arriving in the Preferred City Governor Riley and his staff met with a family who's home was severely damaged in Sunday's storm. The Governor says he counted no less than 23 different volunteers helping that family.

In all Autauga, Dallas, Lowndes, Chilton, Escambia, Russell, and Covington Counties were hit by a wave of storms on Sunday.

None of the areas were affected as heavily as Prattville, which suffered over 200 homes destroyed.

Governor Riley says, "We can rebuild these homes, we can rebuild these communities, and we will."

But as much damage as the storm created as it rolled across the state there is a sense of relief in what it did not bring. No fatalities are being reported at this time, though there are several injuries.

Prattville Mayor Jim Byard says, "God was watching our city last night."

During the news briefing, Byard announced astounding news. There are no reports of looting at all during the over night hours.

Byard assures his citizens that local, state and national help is being secured to bring the area back to a sense of normality.

Governor Riley says his plan for severe weather situations couldn't have gone off much better.

He thanked radio and television stations for doing their part to provide information to viewers on where the storms were going.

"If it hadn't been for the National Weather Service, if it hadn't been for the attention to detail we probably would have lost lives," Riley says.

In looking at the damage, NWS Meteorologist Jim Stefkovich says the tornado that hit Prattville was an EF-3 with winds of 140-150 MPH. That tornado left a path a 1/4 mile wide.

Web Producer: John Shryock