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1 dead, widespread damage in south Alabama after overnight storms

Updated: Apr. 20, 2020 at 9:03 PM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Damage assessments and cleanup operations are underway across multiple south Alabama counties after severe weather, including a possible tornado, swept across the state Sunday night.

Multiple counties are reporting damage including Pike, Covington, Coffee, Houston, Henry and Barbour counties.

This story focuses on damage from Sunday evening. For information on Sunday morning’s storms and damage, CLICK HERE.

HENRY COUNTY

In Henry County, 61-year-old Jerry Oliver Williams Jr. died after the trailer he was inside flipped, according to a report from WTVY. Deputies and Henry County Coroner Derek Wright responded to the area on Henry County Road 26 and County Road 103.

Additional reports of damage have been confirmed in the Thomas Mill Creek, Newville, and Tumbleton communities. There are also widespread reports of power outages in each of these communities.

PIKE COUNTY

The National Weather Service says its Pike/Barbour County storm survey results found straight line winds estimated as high as 85-95 mph. Those winds caused a wide area of damage including snapped and uprooted trees, some of which fell onto structures. There were also awnings, overhangs, roofing material, and carports found blown off some structures.

No injuries were reported in Pike County as of Monday morning, but Pike County Emergency Management Agency Director Herb Reeves said there are widespread tree damage and power outage reports.

Some chicken houses were damaged while dozens of others are running on emergency generators to keep chickens alive during the power outages.

Several chicken houses in Pike County were damaged in overnight storms.
Several chicken houses in Pike County were damaged in overnight storms.(Source: WSFA 12 News)

“I’ve been in this 36 years and I’ve not seen anything like this," said Sheriff Russell Thomas of the widespread damage. “We’ve got a lot to work through today. We’re just beginning to evaluate the situation and see just how bad it really is."

State Highway 130 from U.S. Highway 29 intersection at Monticello community to the Barbour County line is impassable. Fire and rescue units also rescued three people from a mobile home in Goshen that was damaged by a tree.

Troy Mayor Jason Reeves told WSFA 12 News about 1,000 people are without power after the storms. Reeves said crews worked overnight to remove trees out of the roadway so power crews could begin restoring service Monday.

Residents are being asked to remain off the roadways.

Much of the damage across the city was caused by straight-line winds, Reeves added.

Videos showed significant damage to Walt’s 24-Hour Gymnasium on Montgomery/South 3 Notch Street in Troy. Viewer pictures also show downed trees on Troy University’s campus.

BUTLER COUNTY

Butler County EMA's office says they have several fallen trees. N. Garland Road is currently impassable due to trees lying across the roadway that could not be removed.

BARBOUR COUNTY

Barbour County EMA’s office says several trees and power lines are down. Approx. 2,000 remain without power. There have been no confirmed reports of injuries.

COVINGTON COUNTY

The Covington County EMA tells WSFA 12 News there is damage on the north side of Andalusia with trees down on houses. Of great concern is the County Road 70 area, or Antioch Road, where a possible tornado caused damage Sunday night. There is debris down throughout the county.

There were also reports that a home in Babbie, a town in Covington County, may have been hit by a possible tornado.

CRENSHAW COUNTY

The Crenshaw County EMA’s office is updating residents on roadways that are impassible. To view the affected roadways, click this link.

Crenshaw County EMA Director Elliot Jones says they are still working to assess the damage. Dozens of locations are without power outages and several trees are down.

Jones says Luverne south towards Brantley received 95 percent of the damage.

COFFEE COUNTY

In Coffee County, there were reports of damage to homes, with the roof being blown off one residence along County Road 220 near Victoria.

MACON COUNTY

In Macon County, there were no reports of any tornado damage, but the EMA said heavy rainfall and flooding caused severe damage to primary and secondary streets and roads.

“An initial inspection is ongoing and the flooding has compounded our existing damage caused by several previously noted flooding areas,” said EMA Director Frank H. Lee.

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As of Monday evening, South Alabama Electric Cooperative had 6,100 members without power. This was down from about 11,000 Sunday night. South Alabama Electric Cooperative says crews from coops around the state are helping with restoration, which is expected to take multiple days.

As of 9 p.m., Alabama Power continues to restore service for customers in Chilton, Coosa, and Tallapoosa counties. At present, 6,500 customers are without power. The restoration process is ongoing, but is complicated by the extent of the damage to Alabama Power’s infrastructure.

Covington Electric Cooperative also reported thousands of outages.

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