A line of strong thunderstorms on the wet side of Winter Storm Harper spun up several tornadoes in Mississippi, Alabama and Florida Saturday, including an EF2 tornado that caused extensive damage in Wetumpka, Alabama.
Reports on social media say the tornado brought down trees, damaged homes, destroyed a church and damaged the Wetumpka Police Department.
First Baptist Church Wetumpka pic.twitter.com/ykNm0bWWmD— Trey Lightner (@TigerTrey3) January 19, 2019
Only one minor injury was reported.
“We have several buildings downtown with serious structural damage,” Sheriff Bill Franklin. “People may not be able to see that damage. The buildings are in danger of collapsing. We don’t want anymore injuries than we already have.”
Franklin said a curfew would be in place from 6 p.m. ET Saturday until 6 a.m. ET Sunday.
"Everything just exploded…"— Dakota Smith (@weatherdak) January 20, 2019
Incredible testimony from today's tornado in Wetumpka, Alabama.pic.twitter.com/dpwMBUPniQ
Earlier in the day, an EF0 tornado in Rankin County, Mississippi, knocked down several trees. A second EF1 tornado in Rankin County knocked down trees and power lines.
Buildings on Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida were damaged by a possible tornado early Saturday evening, according to base officials.
Tornadoes aren’t rare in January in the USA, but are mostly restricted to the South and lower Midwest states with just a hint of West Coast.
The top five states for January tornado touchdowns are as follows: Texas (170); Florida (151); Mississippi (145); Louisiana (140); Arkansas (126).