At least two dead and heavy damage from Alabama tornadoes

At least two are confirmed dead in Alabama after a tornado struck in the early morning of January 23, 2012.

JANUARY 24, 2012: UPDATE Tornado outbreak in Alabama and US Southeast January 22-23

JANUARY 23, 2012 9:20 A.M. CST (15:20 UTC). Reports from around the Internet indicate at least two people have been killed in the Birmingham, Alabama area tornadoes that took place in the early morning hours on Monday. WBMA TV says the tornadoes also caused “major structural damage” in Alabama. Reports are slow coming in, but EarthSky will update as we get more.

Tornado damage on Hwy 79 near Pinson, AL January 23, 2012. Image by Terri Neal Richards

JANUARY 23, 2012 7:05 A.M. CST (13:05 UTC). Searchers in Birmingham, Alabama are reportedly going from house-to-house early Monday, searching for people trapped in their homes, after storms with tornadoes moved through Alabama overnight. According to the Washington Post:

Fire crews were starting the search in Center Point, north of Birmingham, where there were reports of an unknown number of people trapped, Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency Duty Manager Bob Ammons said.

Reuters reported just after midnight EST on January 23, 2012 that tornadoes had also downed trees and powerlines in Arkansas, leaving thousands without power.

JANUARY 23, 2012, 5:56 A.M. CST (11:56 UTC). The Birmingham News and other local media in Birmingham, Alabama are reporting tornado damage in the north and west parts of the city. A tornado is said to have been “ripping up trees and causing an unknown amount of damage to houses.” The storm moved from Mississippi into Alabama under the cover of darkness early this morning (January 23, 2012). The heaviest damage is reported to be in Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties.

At this writing, tornado warnings continue in this part of the U.S., and you can get live coverage of the event here.

Tornado damage reported early morning on January 23, 2012. This image is marked as Jet Pep in Pinson on Winewood Road. Image via ABC 33/40’s Facebook page.

Hospitals and emergency responders are on alert. There are reports of multiple casualties reported in Oak Grove, Alabama.

Emergency responders in the area were reporting “heavy heavy damage” and “numerous trees down” on emergency radio, according to Mike Oliver of the Birmingham News.

Tornado sightings and warnings continue in this part of Alabama.

Overnight tornado struck north and west of Birmingham, Alabama January 23, 2012. Image via ABC3340.com

This part of the United States suffered less than a year ago, when the April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak – the largest tornado outbreak ever recorded according to Wikipedia and popularly known as the 2011 Super Outbreak – affected the southern, midwestern, and northeastern U.S., leaving catastrophic destruction in its wake, especially across the state of Alabama.

Bottom line: Local media in Birmingham, Alabama are reporting tornado damage in the north and west parts of the city. The storm moved from Mississippi into Alabama under the cover of darkness early this morning (January 23, 2012). The heaviest damage is reported to be in Jefferson and Tuscaloosa counties. At this writing, tornado warnings continue in this part of the U.S.

Deborah Byrd

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