Two people were killed in the Birmingham, Ala. area after severe storms rolled through the South and Midwest. The storms, reports the AP, triggered tornado warnings in five states.
Currently, the National Weather Service said it expects tornadoes, hail, thunderstorms and winds up to 75 mph to move through Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi. These kinds of storms, reports the NWS, are uncommon in the middle winter.
The Birmingham News reports that one of the people killed was a 16-year-old girl. The paper adds that reports of damage are widespread:
"Strong storms blew through parts of the north-central Alabama early this morning.
"Damage has been reported in Maplesville and Clanton, where house-to-house searches are being conducted, according to the Twitter feed for the Consolidated 911 center there.
"A tornado on a path from Tuscaloosa struck Jefferson County ripping up trees and destroying some houses in communities north of Birmingham."
Update at 10:23 a.m. ET. Hit Hard Again:
The AP reports that Oak Grove, Ala. was hit hard during April's deadly outbreak of tornadoes and these storms once again caused significant damage. Luckily, emergency official Allen Kniphfer told the AP, none the homes damaged in April were hit again today.
The AP also reports on the scene in Clay, Ala.:
"Stevie Sanders woke up around 3:30 a.m. and realized bad weather was on the way. She, her parents and sister hid in the laundry room of their brick home as the wind howled and trees started cracking outside.
"'You could feel the walls shaking and you could hear a loud crash. After that it got quiet, and the tree had fallen through my sister's roof,' said Sanders, 26.
"The family was OK, and her father, Greg Sanders, spent the next hours raking his roof and pulling away pieces of broken lumber.
"'It could have been so much worse,' he said. 'It's like they say, we were just blessed.'"
Update at 9:58 a.m. ET. The Scene From Center Point, Ala.:
NPR's Russell Lewis is in Center Point, Ala., northeast of Birmingham. He reports that he's seen a lot of down trees and shingles off roofs. He said he saw a gas station and a bank completely destroyed.
Russell reports that at this point, local authorities are still actively searching for victims. He filed this quick bit for our Newscast unit: