Severe storms, tornadoes hit southeastern US

Washington, Jan 12 (EFE).- The southeastern United States was on Thursday under alert for severe storms as dozens of tornadoes were reported, with one causing widespread damage to the Alabama city of Selma.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey reported in the afternoon that six people have died in the state.

“I am sad to have learned that six Alabamians were lost to the storms that ravaged across our state. My prayers are with their loved ones and communities. We are far too familiar with devastating weather, but our people are resilient. We will get through it and be stronger for it,” she wrote on Twitter.

One tornado caused extensive and widespread damage to the state’s city of Selma, home to around 18,000 people. It was one of at least 45 tornadoes in the southeastern US, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.

Property owner Arthur Threatt removes debris from a set of trailer homes destroyed by tornados in Mount Vernon, Alabama, USA on 12 January 2023. EFE/EPA/DAN ANDERSON

Selma Mayor James Perkins Jr said the city “has received significant damage” and asked citizens to refrain from using roads and to stay away from power lines.

“Emergency response teams are on the ground providing assistance and cleaning right of ways. We are asking everyone to stay calm and stay in place until further notice,” Perkins said on Facebook.

The city has earmarked $2 million for disaster recovery

Videos and images shared on social media showed roofs ripped off buildings, overturned vehicles, fallen trees and the streets full of rubble.

Much of the southeast of the country, including the states of Georgia, Alabama, and parts of Tennessee and North Carolina, are under a storm warning that affects 35 million people, according to the National Weather Service.

Around 110,000 customers in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and the Carolinas were without power, according to the PowerOutage website.

The storms are expected to continue through the night Thursday, with tornado watches in effect.

Several flights to and from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta have been canceled, according to US media. EFE

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