Serious injuries reported as hotel and church sustain significant damage from a large and extremely dangerous tornado that ripped through Birmingham area
Injuries ranging from minor to serious have been reported with victims transported to area hospitals, Jim Coker Director of Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) told CNN. He did not say how many people were injured.
A house collapsed on a family, but their condition is not known at this time, Coker said.
No deaths have been reported and search and rescue operations are still underway, according to Coker.
Coker told CNN the damage from the tornado is “considerable,” which “hit a heavy retail and residential area.”
There are five fire department heavy rescue teams from Jefferson County responding to the areas of Fultondale and Center Point, Coker said.
Jefferson County EMA is using a drone and helicopters to track the path of the storm along with the NWS, according to Coker.
Hotel and church suffer damage
Video from CNN affiliate WVTM shows that the Hampton Inn in Fultondale, which is located just north of Birmingham and has a population of around 9,000, according to census data, sustained significant damage during the storm. The affiliate reported that guests staying at the hotel were able to escape the building and sought shelter in a nearby restaurant when another line of storms came through.
“Significant damage has been reported. We will inspect the damage to determine the strength of the tornado,” NWS Birmingham said.
Earlier, the agency said on Twitter, “At 10:54 PM CST, a confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado was located over Chalkville, or near Trussville, moving east at 50 mph.”
About 13 miles northeast of Birmingham, the city of Center Point, which has a population of more than 16,000, also saw “quite a bit of damage” from the storm, Mayor Bobby Scott told CNN affiliate WBRC.
Scott said that the back half of Hilldale Baptist Church’s roof is missing, and the city’s recreation center also suffered damage in the storm.
“Looks like we will have a long day ahead of us tomorrow,” Scott said. “Hopefully we can get everything covered up.”
“We don’t have any injuries to report right now so we’re definitely grateful for that,” the mayor added.
Tornado watches and warnings in effect through Tuesday morning
A tornado warning was issued Monday night for Jefferson County, Alabama, NWS Birmingham said in a tweet. The agency has since issued tornado warnings and watches for several counties as the line of storms moves northeast through the state.
The storm will dump significant snow from the Central Plains to the mid-Atlantic Coast through Tuesday night. The deepest snow will pile up across Iowa. Some of the snow will be very heavy, with rates of up to 2 inches an hour, says the Weather Prediction Center.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.