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Thursday, January 26, 2012

January Tornadoes Turn Deadly in Alabama (ContributorNetwork)

A severe line of storms that started in Arkansas and Missouri moved eastward, leaving a trail of destruction from high winds and tornadoes in the Midwest and the South. According to MSNBC, at least three people are dead in Alabama, and homes and businesses were destroyed in several states and thousands without power late Sunday and early Monday.

* The Storm Prediction Center of the National Weather Service posted preliminary data from the overnight storms and it included 22 tornado reports.

* In Arkansas, the SPC reported tornadoes were spotted near Fordyce, Coy, Slovak, Lodge Corner, DeWitt and Burks. The counties were Cleveland, Dallas, Lonoke, Prairie, Arkansas and Crittendon.

* In Mississippi, tornadoes were spotted near Trebloc and Lauderdale.

* In Tennessee, there was a possible tornado report in Dickson.

* MSNBC reported that in Alabama, the three deaths occurred near Birmingham. Center Point was hit especially hard. Tuscaloosa, which saw death and destruction from tornadoes in April, suffered damage.

* reported a fourth fatality had occurred in Alabama.

* Accuweather also reported damage in the Paradise Valley, Millbrook and Clanton areas in Alabama. In Clanton, a tornado is believed to be behind the destruction of a radio station and transmission tower. A report from Millbrook stated winds knocked down trees and power lines and tore apart fences and metal buildings.

* There were reports of severe damage, downed trees, snapped power lines and debris blocking roads in several areas around Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana. The SPC received numerous reports of high winds and wind damage, lightning and power outages across parts of these states.

* In Arkansas and Tennessee, there were reports of tractor-trailers and signs blown over on Interstates, according to the SPC.

* Large hail was reported to the SPC from several states, with multiple reports of quarter-sized hail in Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois and Kentucky. Some locations reported hail that was half-dollar in size and larger. There was a report of hail the size of a hen's egg in Calloway County, Ky., and at least one report of hail the size of softballs in Jefferson County, Ark.

* Following overnight high winds, the ferry at Cave-in-Rock, Ill., was closed temporarily, as reported by WPSD-TV. The ferry transports travelers the Ohio River between Illinois and Kentucky but high winds that continue in the region on the heels of Sunday night's storm system are still creating dangerous conditions in the area and the decision was made to close the ferry until weather conditions improve.

Tammy Lee Morris is certified as a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member and is a trained Skywarn Stormspotter through the National Weather Service. She has received interpretive training regarding the New Madrid Seismic Zone through EarthScope -- a program of the National Science Foundation. She researches and writes about earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes, weather and other natural phenomena.

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