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One of the largest severe weather outbreaks of the year unfolded from Monday night into Tuesday morning, as damaging thunderstorms spawned tornadoes, hail the size of tennis balls and damaging winds across the Southeast.
The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center listed nine tornado reports from Monday, all of them in Alabama. Damaging tornadoes ripped through the town of Jacksonville, Alabama, located about 76 miles northeast of Birmingham.
UPDATE/CORRECTED: the damage survey continues, and based on an assessment of structures in the vicinity of Jacksonville State University the tornado intensity has been UPGRADED to an EF-3 with winds around 140mph.— NWS Birmingham (@NWSBirmingham) March 20, 2018
"Considerable" damage was reported at Jacksonville State University as campus officials warned students and faculty against traveling to the school as trees and power lines were down throughout campus. The university remains closed on Tuesday due to the extensive damage.
Despite the reports of damaged structures, there have not been any reports of injuries or fatalities.
“There has been significant damage tonight in parts of Alabama," Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement. "We are sending state resources to those affected areas, especially to Jacksonville and Calhoun County. We will continue to monitor and respond to needs in other areas as needed. Our first priority is ensuring our people are safe. Please stay out of affected areas and let first responders do their job. I thank all first responders, EMA and Weather officials, and utility workers for their hard work trying to keep Alabamians safe.”
On Tuesday, Ivey declared a state of emergency in response to the severe weather.
I have issued a State of Emergency following the severe weather that impacted parts of our state yesterday evening. You can find a copy of the SOE here--> https://t.co/JRtMS6V8bk pic.twitter.com/T95rSdONZa— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) March 20, 2018
Residents in Calhoun County, Alabama, were being asked to conserve water Tuesday morning as supplies were running low due to power outages.
Over 15,000 Alabama Power customers were without power during the height of the storms, the utility reported. That number had dropped to around 9,300 by 6 a.m. local time Tuesday.
In Georgia, utility companies reported more than 26,000 customers suffered power outages during the storms.
The threat of severe weather will extend east to parts of Florida and the coastal Southeast on Tuesday.
Just spoke to a student who lives on the third floor of this Jacksonville apartment. He wasn’t home at the time, but he says much of the third floor is now gone. pic.twitter.com/B980EWzWnM— Chip Scarborough (@ChipWVTM13) March 20, 2018
Photos from Cave Springs, Ga where 150+ people dodging a tornado headed into the historic cave for safety. Send photos/videos our way of weather in your area. pic.twitter.com/KIr4c3Oh2h— CBS46 (@cbs46) March 20, 2018
VIDEO: Tornado touches down in Russellville, Alabama during early season severe weather outbreak across northeastern MS, northern AL, into western GA. @breakingweather @accuweather #alwx #tornado pic.twitter.com/UhDpkir45j— Reed Timmer (@ReedTimmerAccu) March 20, 2018
Horrible damage from strong #tornado last night in Jacksonville, AL. Here is the West Point Baptist Church. Building across the street with sheet metal roof looks untouched. Multiple vortex tornado. Long road of recovery ahead :( @breakingweather @accuweather pic.twitter.com/0k60vKNcWG— Reed Timmer (@ReedTimmerAccu) March 20, 2018
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