BIRMINGHAM, AL. — It was a very scary night for people near Birmingham as severe storms rolled through the area in the very early hours of Tuesday.
The National Weather Service says an EF-2 tornado touched down in neighborhoods in Fultondale, Alabama, just north of Birmingham.
At least one person was killed when a tree crashed onto a house during the storm, neighbors said.
The victim is a 14-year-old boy. Fultondale Police Chief D.P. Smith said several other family members were critically injured and one escaped harm.
Channel 2′s Tony Thomas went to the storm-ravaged town on Tuesday. He said no matter where you looked there was pure devastation.
The storm cut a quarter-mile swath through Fultondale.
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Thomas met Deborah Stough as she was going through the rubble of what was left of her home. She fled her home so quickly that she was still in her nightgown.
“I heard my windows shatter in the bedroom,” Stough said. “I was holding on to my sister so we wouldn’t both be blown away. That’s all I could think of. I didn’t know the roof was blown off. I knew we was getting wet.”
Several blocks of Stough’s neighborhood are gone.
“There’s no words to describe it. It’s just devastating,” said Clyde Crump.
The storm also caused damage to a Hampton Inn Hotel in Fultondale. A hotel guest shared how he rode out the tornado.
“Crawled underneath the sink, it had a big open area, grabbed a towel put it over me. I just rode it out and suddenly windows blew out in my room, lights went out and sirens shrieked. It was just surreal,” said hotel guest Richard Ring.
“I heard this horrific wind. It woke me up,” said Barbara Van Vlynen, who had a room on the third floor of the hotel.
Injuries range from minor to severe, but search and rescue efforts are still ongoing, said James Coker, the director of the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency.
This same storm system moved into Georgia and the Atlanta metro, but had weakened in intensity.
Still, several tornado warnings and watches were issued for parts of north Georgia.
There were no confirmed reports of any tornado touchdowns in Georgia.