Update: Tuesday, 12 a.m. EDT — Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement: “There has been significant damage tonight in parts of Alabama. We are sending state resources to those affected areas, especially to Jacksonville and Calhoun County. We will continue to monitor and respond to needs in other areas as needed.”
Pictures on social media showed extensive damage to the Jacksonville State University campus as well as the city prison. The Dollar General store in the city was also destroyed.
The university released the following statement: “Our campus and our community were hit this evening by severe storms. It has only just become safe for university police to come out of shelter and they are out assessing the damage and going dorm to dorm checking on residents.”
Update: 11:15 p.m. EDT — Athletic Director at Jacksonville State University Greg Seitz tweeted confirming Jacksonville’s Coliseum has indeed incurred extensive damages due to the tornado.
“My bestfriend is stuck at the Reservse [sic] in Jacksonville right now. Other tenants came to her apartment because theirs was flooding. At her apartment water started coming under the door and out of light sockets,” a Twitter user wrote.
“My brother lives in the Reserve apts near the coliseum at JSU and says after coming out of the innermost room, most of their apt is gone,” tweeted another.
Another social media user snapped a picture of a Dollar Tree store in Cullman, Alabama, with water leaking from its roof.
According to Alabama Power, about 15,000 people in the state are without electricity at the moment as the storm moves to the northernmost part of Alabama.
A powerful storm tore through the southeast on Monday, spawning several tornadoes that brought widespread structural damages in Alabama and threatened the lives of 29 million people living in its path.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for northern Alabama and southern Tennessee and a tornado watch for northern Georgia.
People from Limestone County, and Alabama County in the Tennessee border took to social media to the post photos of hailstones the size of tennis balls falling in the area. Some of the videos posted showed severe snow storms and tornado winds blowing roofs off of the tops of buildings.
According to latest reports, one of the tornados is moving toward Jacksonville, Alabama, and people were warned to keep away from the outdoors. A Tornado warning was issued for St. Clair County, Jacksonville.
There are also reports of extensive damage to Jacksonville’s Coliseum. Buildings in the Gamecock Village and Reserve Apartments have been affected by the tornado and a car was blown into a tree in the area.
Although no injuries have been reported so far, a group of students is reportedly trapped inside the unit 510 of the Reserve in Jacksonville. Mobile networks have stopped working and there is no response so far from emergency services.
Alabama Emergency Management Executive Operations Officer Jeff Smitherman raised the threat level and increased staffing at Alabama’s emergency management agency.
Schools from central Tennessee to Birmingham, Alabama, closed down early so that students and staff will have enough time to safely make it back home before the storm hits.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey urged Alabamians to get to a safe location and stay put until the weather clears up. “We are not taking the situation lightly,” Ivey said, US News reported. “Severe weather is unpredictable and that is why it is paramount we prepare ahead of time.”
This is a developing story.