Tornado Hits Jacksonville, Alabama

As we wait for "an all-out snowstorm for the DC-to-Philly-to-NYC-to-Boston corridor," a storm has already hit back home.

As we wait for “an all-out snowstorm for the DC-to-Philly-to-NYC-to-Boston corridor,” a storm has already hit back home.

CNN (“‘Significant damage’ in Alabama after storms hit Southeast“):

Severe storms smacked the Southeast Monday, bringing possible tornadoes, powerful winds and hailstones the size of baseballs.

The damaging weather struck right before Tuesday, which is the first day of spring.

“There has been significant damage tonight in parts of Alabama,” Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement late Monday.

Possible tornadoes were reported to have torn apart homes, shredded buildings and knocked down power lines and trees.

“We are sending state resources to those affected areas, especially to Jacksonville and Calhoun County,” Ivey said. “We will continue to monitor and respond to needs in other areas as needed.”

In Jacksonville, Alabama, at least one person was injured after a possible tornado touched down on Monday. There are people trapped in the downed debris, and crews are searching for them, said Chris Roberts, assistant fire chief with Jacksonville Fire Department.

The storm also damaged the roofs of two residence halls and the sports coliseum at Jacksonville State University, which has about 8,500 students.
The college is on spring break this week, but campus police are going room to room at campus apartments and halls to check on any students who may have still been there when the storm hit, said Buffy Lockette, spokesperson for Jacksonville State University. She said there weren’t any confirmed injuries as of late Monday.

The Anniston Star (“Tornado causes major damage in Jacksonville“):

A tornado swept through Jacksonville Monday night, ripping roofs off university buildings, destroying apartments and sending cars into trees, officials said.

Jacksonville fire Marshal Lee Batey said shortly after the tornado passed through that 911 was being flooded with reports of damage to Gamecock Village and The Reserve, two apartment complexes largely rented by Jacksonville State University students. Many students were away from their apartments on spring break.

The fire marshal said 911 received reports of many injuries.

Calhoun County Coroner Pat Brown said he’d not received any reports of fatalities as of midnight. A JSU spokeswoman said early Tuesday morning that there were no student fatalities as a result of the storms.

Batey also reported a Dollar General store near the apartments, on Alabama 204, no longer had a roof.

Calhoun County Sheriff Matthew Wade reported that large power lines had fallen onto U.S. 431 and a tractor trailer north of Alexandria. By 11:30 p.m., the southbound lanes were still closed. West Point Baptist Church on Alabama 204 appeared, in a photograph Wade posted online, to be missing the middle of the building as well as its steeple.

My mom still lives in Jacksonville and the University is just a five-minute drive. It’s a small town, so I know all of the locations referenced even though I haven’t lived there in twenty-five years.

Tornados are a fairly common occurrence there this time of year. The Palm Sunday storms of 1994, which devastated the Goshen United Methodist Church just up the road in Piedmont, were the most famous but there is significant storm damage every couple of years.

FILED UNDER: Natural Disasters
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. JohnMcC says:

    Thoughts and prayers for your family.

  2. CSK says:

    My best to your mother. Up where I am, we’re due for our 4th nor’easter this month.