Alabama governor declares state of emergency as tornadoes sweep through state

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Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) declared a state of emergency for six counties after severe storms pummeled the state Thursday.

Ivey issued a state of emergency for Autauga, Chambers, Coosa, Dallas, Elmore and Tallapoosa counties after a series of tornadoes ripped through the state Thursday, causing damage to buildings and knocking out power for 30,000 homes, according to the Montgomery Advertiser. The tornadoes — confirmed in Autauga and Dallas counties — left four people dead and multiple injured, the Advertiser reported.

“I — along with my partners at the Alabama EMA — will continue monitoring to determine if an expanded state of emergency is needed,” Ivey said on Twitter. “I am ready to be a helping hand to our local officials. Please continue using caution, and stay safe out there!”

A series of severe storms swept the Southeast Thursday afternoon, with the National Weather Service issuing tornado watches throughout the day for parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The National Weather Service in Birmingham warned residents around noon that a “large and extremely dangerous tornado” was moving through the city of Selma in Dallas County, and reported significant damage to the area shortly after.

Alabama had 98 tornados in 2022 and three deaths related to the tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service.

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-Ala.) said she arrived in Selma to survey the damage Thursday and wrote in a tweet that she spoke with the White House and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate a federal response.

“I’m devastated and heartbroken by the tornado damage in my hometown of Selma and throughout the Black Belt,” Sewell wrote on Twitter. “My office has already begun coordinating a federal response.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by today’s tornado in Selma, and to those who are still sheltering in place waiting out the storms,” Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) said in a tweet. “Thanks to the heroic first responders who are braving adverse conditions on the ground to help victims.”

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