A large and dangerous tornado touched down near Fultondale, Alabama, a northern suburb of Birmingham, just before midnight on Jan. 25, leaving behind a slew of damage with reports of injuries and at least one dead.
The twister was reported in the town of in Fultondale around 10:30 p.m. Monday and unleashed extensive damage throughout Jefferson County.
The Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency urged residents to seek shelter immediately shortly after the tornado was confirmed on the ground near Fultondale.
A CONFIRMED TORNADO is on the ground. If you live in the areas east of Fultondale… YOU NEED TO SEEK SHELTER NOW. https://t.co/8B9nW8Fm9V— Jefferson County EMA (AL) (@EMAJeffCoAL) January 26, 2021
As of 6:30 a.m. local time, one death from the twister has been confirmed by Fultondale Fire Chief Justin McKenzie. The death was of a young man, believed to be a teenager, who was trapped in his basement with his family after a tree fell on their home. Other members of the victim’s family suffered severe injuries.
Multiple other reports of injuries and people trapped emerged throughout the night, with dozens of people suffering injuries. According to CNN, about 30 people are injured as of Tuesday morning, including 17 individuals who were rushed to emergency rooms, McKenzie said.
Fultondale Fire Chief says: “Hit bad, multiple injuries, multiple houses, trees, people trapped.”— ABC 33/40 News (@abc3340) January 26, 2021
Around 10:45 p.m. CST Monday, a thunderstorm produced a tornado that knocked over street signs and utility poles and damaged buildings in Fultondale, Alabama.
The National Weather Service office in Birmingham issued a tornado warning for the thunderstorm, saying a “confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado” was on the ground and heading toward Fultondale.
This is what it looked like as the tornado hit Fultondale, AL around 10:40 PM local time in Alabama Monday Night. What you’re seeing are transformers being blown as the tornado rips through power lines & other structures in the area. #alwx #tornado pic.twitter.com/eFWqfNiYBb— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) January 26, 2021
On radar, a debris signature was seen, confirming damage that was taking place. A debris signature occurs when items such as trees, parts of buildings and other objects are thrown high into the atmosphere by the tornado. This is a clear sign to meteorologists that a tornado is causing damage.
Shortly after passing through Fultondale, the storm weakened and the debris signature was no longer seen.
BREAKING: This hotel sustained major damage in Fultondale. pic.twitter.com/YRM9Z3Cu2J— Fred Davenport (@FredWVTM13) January 26, 2021
Luckily for cleanup efforts, mild and dry weather is expected for Tuesday and Wednesday. That said, additional storms containing heavy rain and gusty winds late Monday night affected cleanup efforts after the tornadic storm tore though Fultondale. Once the dry weather arrives, it is forecast to continue through at least Friday.
The Jefferson County EMA advised people to stay out of the area: “PLEASE stay out of the Fultondale area. This includes but isn’t limited to Carson Road, Black Creek Road, Pine Hill Road and New Castle Road. On top of the road dangers such as power lines and debris…traffic is clogging the roads. Once again, PLEASE stay out of the area.“
Schools are now closed!
No classes will be held for either traditional or remote students at these schools. All other JEFCOED schools will be open Tuesday.— Jefferson County EMA (AL) (@EMAJeffCoAL) January 26, 2021
However, colder air will move in by Wednesday night and temperatures are expected to fall below freezing on both Wednesday night and Thursday night.