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Two fatalities in Pickens County after tornado touches down Saturday morning

Weather 1-11-2020

National Weather Service

A tornado touched down in West Alabama Saturday around 11 a.m. Saturday, while Northeast Alabama remains in a tornado watch and severe weather risk area through the evening.

According to National Weather Service meteorologist Jessica Winton, a tornado touched down in Pickens County, just west of the town of Carrollton. A tornado warning was issued at 11:04 a.m. on the service’s Twitter account; 14 minutes later, a tweet announced a tornado had touched the ground. The warning ended at about 11:45 a.m. News outlets reported around noon that there had been at least two fatalities; the weather service reported a third death soon after. 

Winton said there haven’t been more tornadoes reported yet today. 

“Our radar can give us a strong signal if one looks like it touched down, and so far we haven’t seen anything else of that strength,” Winton. 

The time frame from 2 to 7 p.m. for severe weather to arrive in Northeast Alabama hasn’t changed since early Saturday morning, Winton said, though the line of storms has shifted speed as it moves past Mississippi. The storms had been slow to pass that state, she said, but has picked up speed on arrival in Alabama. 

She said the storm line itself should arrive between 1 and 3 p.m., bringing with it winds up to 70 mph, similar in scale to the power of a tornado. Ahead of that time frame, local residents should look for steady winds of up to 25 mph, with gusts up to 40 mph. The wind has already knocked over trees throughout the state, Winton said. 

“Even though storms aren’t there yet, the winds ahead of them are still strong enough,” she added. 

The weather service has also had reports of trees down on cars, structures and power lines, and the storms have dumped enough rain to make puddling on roadways an issue. 

Residents should consider charging up their devices in case of power outages, Winton said. 

Myles Chamblee, a Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency officer, said Saturday that there had been reports of trees falling within the county, but no unusual or extreme damage had been reported yet. 

Assistant Metro Editor Ben Nunnally: 256-235-3560.