Aerial photos show the destruction and debris from an Alabama tornado that ripped off roofs and destroyed homes while leaving one dead and 30 injured on Monday.
The shocking pictures show heaps of mangled metal and wooden debris littered across the Darlene Estates neighborhood in Fultondale – just north of Birmingham.
Officials said that a 14-year-old boy who was sheltering in his basement died when a tornado blew a tree onto the home and killed him, police said on Tuesday.
Several of his family members were critically injured when the home collapsed and trapped them in the basement.
At least 30 other people were injured as the tornado rampaged through the community, which was severely harmed by a much larger tornado a decade ago.
Aerial photos show the destruction from a deadly Alabama tornado that leveled homes on Monday
The tornado ripped through Fultondale, carving a path of destruction north of Birmingham
One aerial photo shows at least five homes with extensive roof damage
The tornado carved a 10-mile path of destruction through the northern suburbs of Birmingam on Monday
The teenager killed was in the ninth grade at Fultondale High School, according to Jefferson County Superintendent Dr. Walter Gonsoulin.
The school was so heavily damaged that he doubts students can return to classrooms this year. He said they’re trying to determine how many students may be homeless now.
Survey crews with the National Weather Service said they have found damage indicating the tornado was at least a ‘high-end EF-2,’ but noted that the results are preliminary and surveys remain ongoing.
Photos from the ground show distraught families trying to pick up their belongings and clean the debris as they try to move on from the devastation – and the economic loss while the world still reels from the coronavirus pandemic.
In one picture, Fultondale resident Patti Herring sobs as she stands in the remains of her kitchen and sorts debris from her home after the roof was ripped off.
Tim and Patti Herring ran to their bathroom when they got the warning that a tornado was headed their way. It struck moments later, ripping away their roof and two sides of their home while they huddled in the bathtub.
‘I could feel stuff falling down and hitting me, but we’re OK,’ Tim Herring said.
Patti Herring sobs as she looks for a missing cat and her late mother’s belongings
Patti Herring, pictured, and her husband Tim ran to their bathroom when they got the warning that a tornado was headed their way
By Tuesday afternoon, blue skies and sunshine illuminated the damage left by Monday’s deadly tornado
Shaken and teary, Patti searched for a missing cat and her late mother’s cherished belongings.
Another shows James Scott, 19, pausing while picking through the remains of his home while standing in front of what used to be its walls. The teen, who survived with his mother and sister, has never lived anywhere else and isn’t sure where he will wind up after the storm.
Axel Ramirez, 14, spent hours this morning helping clean up debris at his friend’s home, he told Connor Sheets, a reporter with The Birmingham News.
James Scott wears gloves while he picks through the remains of his home after it was leveled by the tornado
Wilfred Hunt sits in his car which is partially covered by tree limbs, obscuring a view of his house which suffered heavy damage
The trunk of a tree stands before the remains of homes that were all destroyed by the Fultondale tornado
Melvin Weldon and his son Nik look over the damage path from a powerful tornado struck Fultondale
Johnny O’Brien’s home was damaged by falling trees as a tornado swept through Fultondale
‘It hit their house, broke windows, damaged stuff, trees fell on it … His family’s at another family members’ house. I don’t know what they’re going to do,’ Ramirez said.
Another photo posted to Twitter by Sheets shows Bailey Black and her sister Taylor, who was at work when the tornado hit her home and cars, standing in the street as they survey the damage.
Black said she is thankful her kids weren’t home.
‘I can’t even describe what I’m feeling right now. It’s replaceable, it’s just material, but it sucks when you worked for something,’ she said.
More photos show backhoes and other construction equipment digging and hauling debris away with clear blue skies – not a cloud in sight.
The Hampton Inn hotel on Fulton Road sustained major damage. Guests were forced to find a new place to stay after six of them were pulled from the wreckage.
Tree limbs partially obscure an overhead view of a series of homes that were damaged in the twister
Nassa Perez, Lupe Rodriquez and Marcos Montenegro work Tuesday in the remains of a home that belonged to Ezekiel Calero in Fultondale, Ala.
Homes with their roofs sheared off are seen in Fultondale, Ala.
Hotel guest Richard Ring told WVTM he crawled under his room’s bathroom sink when the raging storm drowned out the noise of the TV show he was watching.
‘All of a sudden, the windows blew out in my room. The lights went out. And the sirens shrieked. And it was just surreal,’ he told the outlet.
Footage showed water pouring from exposed upper floors of the hotel, while cars were trapped under debris in the parking lot outside.
The Hampton Inn hotel was torn apart as guests took shelter under their bathroom sinks
The tornado that touched down in Fultondale, Alabama is illuminated by lightning. It left people trapped in their homes, damaged buildings and downed trees
The Interstate I-65 was closed early on Tuesday morning in Fultondale, Alabama with extreme weather in the area
Lightning can be seen piercing the night sky as a tornado moved through Birmingham, Alabama
Power lines were also down in Fultondale and cars were trapped under debris with some roads impassable, while a towing business was also reduced to rubble by the extreme weather.
Meanwhile, drivers were left stranded in their cars as the interstate, I-65, was closed overnight – while the weather warnings for parts of Georgia and Alabama also came with the danger of penny-sized hailstones.
Fultondale Mayor Larry Holcomb said ‘it’s not going to be a quick process’ to recover from the storm, which hit around 10.30pm, The Birmingham News reported.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said on Twitter early Tuesday that ‘the people of Fultondale took a hard hit last night.’
‘I’m grieved over the loss of life, injuries, homes & damaged businesses,’ she said.
‘I offer my prayers & deepest sympathies & pledge the full support & resources our state has to offer. I am with you, Fultondale!’
An EF- 4 tornado ripped across Alabama from Tuscaloosa to northern Jefferson County on April 27, 2011, killing 65 people and injuring 1,500 along a damage path more than 80 miles long, according to the National Weather Service.
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