CLAY, Ala. - Violent weather including possible tornadoes roared across the heart of Alabama yesterday, killing two people and injuring more than 100 others. Searchers went door-to-door calling out to residents, some of whom lived along a path near the deadly twisters that devastated the area last year.
The storms flattened homes, knocked down trees, and peeled off roofs in the middle of the night in the rural community of Oak Grove, which was touched by both storms. The area near Birmingham has a history of being a tornado alley.
In a sign the state has become all too familiar with severe weather, officials had to reschedule a meeting to receive a report on their response to the spring twisters.
As dawn broke, residents surveyed the damage and began cleaning up across several parts of central Alabama. The governor declared a state of emergency.
Oak Grove was hit hard in April when tornadoes killed about 240 people statewide, though officials said none of the same neighborhoods was struck again.
Bobby Frank Sims, 38, was killed yesterday when his Oak Grove home was leveled by a tree. In Clay, northeast of Birmingham, 16-year-old Christina Nicole Heichelbech died, the Jefferson County coroner’s office said. Rescue workers said her parents were injured.
“Some roads are impassable, there are a number of county roads where you have either debris down, trees down, damage from homes,’’ said Yasamie Richardson, a spokeswoman for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.
The storm system stretched from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, producing hail, strong winds, and rain. Possible tornadoes were reported in Arkansas Sunday night.
Jefferson County, Ala., where Oak Grove and Clay are located, suffered the most damage yesterday. In April, about 20 people were killed in the county.