At least ten killed as tornados strike Alabama

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The Independent US

A band of tornados ripped across Alabama in the southern United States, the deadliest of them killing 10 people as it tore through a Tuscaloosa trailer park and an upscale neighborhood nearby.

A band of tornados ripped across Alabama in the southern United States, the deadliest of them killing 10 people as it tore through a Tuscaloosa trailer park and an upscale neighborhood nearby.

Tornadoes also struck three other far-flung locales Saturday, tearing apart scores of homes in Geneva, at the southern edge of the state, and in rural Etowah and Limestone counties in the north.

The worst devastation was in a sprawling trailer park just south of Tuscaloosa, where most of the victims were found. Mobile homes were blown into mangled piles, some unrecognisable among the debris.

"We are still trying to find out how many are unaccounted for," said Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ted Sexton. "There were people out there Christmas shopping and all. We just don't know where they are."

National Guard troops sealed off the park as rescue teams searched the rubble for survivors. With power out, the search went on in darkness.

At least 54 people were injured, and two people were still missing late Saturday night, Alabama Emergency Management Agency spokesman Scott Adcock said. The tornado had hit about 1 p.m.

"It was roaring and the wind just blew. You didn't know if you were going to live or not," said Myrtle Bowden, who took refuge in a bathroom with her husband, James.

Joe Hayes, 61, said he watched from his porch as the storm hit a grocery store under construction, then lift a small pickup truck and threw its occupants.

"I saw it coming all the way," he said. Twelve people who joined him huddled in his basement survived the storm, but Hayes lost his roof to the winds.

A tree near where Beverly Smith's trailer had stood was filled with orange insulation, the trailer had been blown off its foundation and into another tree. Smith, who had taken cover in the trailer's bathroom, was hospitalised with bruises, cuts and chest pains, said her brother, Kenny Thomas.

"It picked the trailer up," he said. In nearby yards, the roof of a pickup truck was caved in. A photograph of a man, a woman and a child lay in a puddle.

Debris from homes and buildings was scattered along roads south of Tuscaloosa and was hanging from trees, many of them twisted and broken.

In the southern part of the state, another tornado hit just before noon, overturning cars and destroying homes, Geneva Mayor Warren Beck said.

Geneva County Emergency Management Agency director, Margaret Mixon, said eight people were injured, two of them severely. Five homes were destroyed and at least 20 others were damaged.

The tornado also damaged a textile mill and destroyed a peanut mill in neighboring Dale County. Dale County Commissioner Buddy Stapleton said he counted about a half-dozen homes hit near Newton.

A tornado also swept through the northern part of the state, injuring 12 people and damaging about two dozen homes in the Ball Play and Coats Bend communities of Etowah County, deputy emergency management director John Stoddard said.

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