‘Significant damage’ in Selma, Alabama, after tornado hits community
A tornado destroyed the town of Selma, Alabama, Thursday. The city's mayor urged residents to stay inside as 'significant damage' was seen throughout the town.
An EF-2 tornado that impacted central Alabama Thursday moved through the city of Selma, causing what witnesses described as catastrophic damage and killing at least seven in a nearby county.
The Selma mayor pleaded with residents, asking them to stay off the roads moments after the twister damaged the town.
"Folks incurred some significant injuries, but thank God no loss of life has been reported. We do have we do know that we had one city employee lost a relative in another community to this disaster. And we want to just acknowledge and thank those communities and the agencies that are in town," said Mayor James Perkins, Jr.
TORNADO EMERGENCIES ISSUED AS VIOLENT STORMS CAPABLE OF 'COMPLETE DESTRUCTION' SWEEP ACROSS SOUTH
The tornado caused significant damage throughout the downtown area.
One woman tells FOX Weather that a church was destroyed and kids were trapped inside. Thankfully, all the children were said to be okay.
"As Alabama Power brings the power back, these lines that you're seeing may be hot. They may not be hot now, but five minutes later, they may be hot. Don't touch the power lines. Don't try to walk over and drive over the power lines. We hadn't had any loss of life yet, and we don't want to lose any going forward," said Perkins.
Some residents said the tornado appeared to be a mile wide, and due to plenty of warning, they were able to seek shelter.
Lachandra Sturdivant witnessed the tornado from a Selma coffee shop.
"It’s horrible through here," she said. "The power’s off, they’re trying to cut trees out of the roads to open a way for people to get around."
Sturdivant told FOX Weather she was waiting in her car as roads were blocked.
STRIKING IMAGES SHOW DESTRUCTION CAUSED BY SEVERE WEATHER IN THE SOUTH
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"We could hear the train -- the tornado sounds like a train just roaring through," she told FOX Weather. "It just started ripping trees, roofs off buildings. Stuff was just everywhere."
The American Red Cross opened a shelter a nearby high school for the dozens of victims whose homes were either damaged or destroyed by the storm.
"Let's check on one another, let's look after one another and let's love one another," a city council member said during an emergency meeting.
Authorities did enact a curfew Thursday evening and said those who do not need to be out will be arrested.
Just outside Selma in Autauga County, officials confirmed six fatalities and multiple injuries after the tornado moved through the county.
Multiple Tornado Emergencies were issued throughout the state Thursday. The National Weather Service in Birmingham plans to survey the area later this evening and into Friday.