Storm system hits southern US with tornadoes, at least 7 dead, trail of destruction in Alabama | US News

A powerful storm swept across the southern United States, unleashing a massive tornado that damaged dozens of homes and killed at least six people in Alabama and one in Georgia.

Six people were reported dead and multiple properties were under pressure in the Old Kingston neighborhood of Otoga County.

At least 12 people there were taken to hospital, local officials said.

Autauga’s director of emergency management, Ernie Baggett, told The Associated Press that 40 to 50 homes were damaged by the extreme weather and the tornado was described as “massive and extremely dangerous.”

Butts County Coroner Lacey Prue said the Georgia man was a passenger in a vehicle when a tree fell on it in Jackson.

Local media quoted county officials as saying the victim was a five-year-old child.

Damaged structures and debris can be seen after severe weather on Thursday, Jan. 1.  12, 2023, Selma, Alabama. A large tornado damaged homes and uprooted trees in Alabama as a powerful storm system swept across the South on Thursday.  (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
The storm damaged property in Selma.Photo: Associated Press

“It blew up the windows”

But Alabama is by far the hardest hit by the extreme weather.

Properties in Selma were affected – photos showed devastated residential areas, with strong winds ripping out walls and collapsing roofs.

Some 18,000 residents are “spread across” the city, said former state Senator Hank Sanders.

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US tornado: ‘It’s my mom’s house!’

“The tornado definitely damaged Selma,” he added.

“It actually hit our house, but not head-on. It blew out the bedroom and living room windows.

“It’s raining on the kitchen roof.”

Cars were toppled by high winds, trees were uprooted and a citywide curfew was imposed.

So far, no deaths have been reported in Selma.

“There were injuries, but no deaths,” Mayor James Perkins said.

“We’ve got a lot of broken power lines. There’s a lot of danger in the streets.”

On Thursday, January 1, the devastation caused by the severe weather was evident.  Greensboro, Alabama on December 12, 2023. Tornadoes were unleashed by a massive swirling storm system that swept across the south on Thursday, destroying walls of homes, collapsing roofs and uprooting trees.  (Mike Goodall, Associated Press)
Image: Mike Goodall via AP

“Life-threatening situation”

The tornado in Alabama was one of 33 tornadoes reported by the National Weather Service Thursday night, with warnings for Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina in place well into the night.

“This is a life-threatening situation. Shelter immediately,” the weather service said of the tornado in Alabama.

Tens of thousands of homes were without power, including more than 50,000 in Alabama and more than 100,000 in Georgia, according to, which tracks outages.

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