#AceNewsReport – Jun.22: The children who died Saturday were in a van for a youth home for abused or neglected children. The vehicle erupted in flames in the wreck along a wet Interstate 65 about 35 miles south of Montgomery. Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock said vehicles likely hydroplaned.
ALABAMA: TROPICAL STORM #Claudette was regaining strength early Monday and expected to return to tropical storm status as it neared the coast of the Carolinas just days after 13 people died — including eight children in a multi-vehicle crash — due to the effects of the storm.
The crash also claimed the lives of two other people who were in a separate vehicle. Garlock identified them as 29-year-old Cody Fox and his 9-month-old daughter, Ariana; both of Marion County, Tennessee.
Multiple people were also injured.
Additionally, a 24-year-old man and a 3-year-old boy were also killed Saturday when a tree fell on their house just outside the Tuscaloosa city limits, said Capt. Jack Kennedy of the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit. Makayla Ross, a 23-year-old Fort Payne woman, died Saturday after her car ran off the road into a swollen creek, DeKalb County Deputy Coroner Chris Thacker told WHNT-TV.
A search was also underway for one man believed to have fallen into the water during flash flooding in Birmingham, WBRC-TV reported. Crews were using boats to search Pebble Creek.
Early Monday, Claudette had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph), the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory. The depression was located 55 miles (90 kilometers) south-southwest of Raleigh, North Carolina, and moving east-northeast at 20 mph (31 kph), forecasters said.
The depression was forecast to become a tropical storm sometime Monday morning over eastern North Carolina. Claudette is then on track to move into the Atlantic Ocean, then travel near or south of Nova Scotia on Tuesday.
Rainfall totals around 1 to 3 inches (3 to 8 centimeters) are forecast for parts of Georgia and the Carolinas. Tornadoes were also possible Monday morning across the coastal Carolinas.
A tropical storm warning was in effect in North Carolina from the Little River Inlet to the town of Duck on the Outer Banks. A tropical storm watch was issued from South Santee River, South Carolina, to the Little River Inlet.
The van in Saturday’s crash was carrying children ages 4 to 17 who belonged to the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch, a youth home operated by the Alabama Sheriffs Association.
Michael Smith, the youth ranch’s CEO, said the van was heading back to the ranch near Camp Hill, northeast of Montgomery, after a week at the beach in Gulf Shores. Candice Gulley, the ranch director, was the van’s only survivor — pulled from the flames by a bystander.
“Words cannot explain what I saw,” Smith said of the accident site, which he visited Saturday. He had returned from Gulf Shores in a separate van and did not see the crash when it happened.
Gulley remained hospitalized Sunday in Montgomery in serious but stable condition. Two of the dead in the van were Gulley’s children, ages 4 and 16. Four others were ranch residents and two were guests, Smith said.
Garlock said the location of the wreck is “notorious” for hydroplaning, as the northbound highway curves down a hill to a small creek. Traffic on that stretch of I-65 is usually filled with vacationers driving to and from Gulf of Mexico beaches on summer weekends.
The National Transportation Safety Board tweeted that it was sending 10 investigators to the area Sunday to investigate the crash.
Meanwhile, it seemed to be business as usual along North Carolina’s Outer Banks on Sunday ahead of Claudette’s arrival.
At Stack ’em High in Kill Devil Hills, a restaurant that specializes in pancakes, co-owner Dawn Kiousis said Sunday morning restaurant service was busy.
“You keep your eye on the weather and you prepare as much stuff in advance as you can,” she said. “Just know she’s gonna win. Mother Nature is going to do what she’s going to do, so you just prepare.”
Twelve dead in Alabama as massive storm sweeps southern US sparking tornadoes, floods
Posted Yesterday at 8:23pm, updated Yesterday at 10:18pm
Tropical Depression Claudette claimed 12 lives in Alabama as the storm swept across the south-eastern US, causing flash flooding and spurring tornadoes that destroyed dozens of homes.
Ten people, including nine children, were killed on Saturday in a 15-vehicle crash about 55 kilometres south of Montgomery on Interstate 65, according to Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock.
He said the vehicles likely hydroplaned on wet roads, with eight children, aged 4 to 17, killed in a van belonging to a youth ranch operated by the Alabama Sheriffs Association for abused or neglected children.
A man and a nine-month-old baby died in a separate vehicle. Multiple people were also injured.
Meanwhile, a 24-year-old man and a three-year-old boy were killed when a tree fell on their house just outside the Tuscaloosa city limits on Saturday.
The deaths occurred as drenching rains pelted northern Alabama and Georgia. As much as 30 centimetres of rain was reported earlier from Claudette along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Flash flood watches were posted on Sunday for northern Georgia, most of South Carolina, the North Carolina coast and parts of south-east Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
The eight girls killed in the van were returning to a youth ranch from a week at the beach in Gulf Shores, youth ranches CEO Michael Smith told The Associated Press.
He said the director of the Tallapoosa County ranch survived the crash and was hospitalised in Montgomery. At least one of the dead was a child of the director.
“This is the worst tragedy I’ve been a part of in my life,” Mr Smith said.
“Words cannot explain what I saw.
“We love these girls like they’re our own children.”
Mr Garlock said the location of the wreck is “notorious” for hydroplaning, as the northbound highway curves down a hill to a small creek.
Traffic on that stretch of road is usually filled with holidaymakers driving to and from Gulf of Mexico beaches on summer weekends.
Mobile home park ‘leveled’, 50 homes damaged or destroyed
Shortly after the storm made landfall southwest of New Orleans, a suspected tornado spurred by the storm demolished or badly damaged at least 50 homes in a small town in Alabama, just north of the Florida border.
Sheriff Heath Jackson in Escambia County said it “pretty much levelled” a mobile home park, toppled trees onto houses and ripped the roof off of a high school gym.
Most of the damage was done in or near the towns of Brewton and East Brewton, about 77 kilometres north of Pensacola, Florida.
“It kind of affected everybody,” Mr Jackson said.
“But with those mobile homes being built so close together it can take a toll on them a lot more than it can on houses that are spread apart.”
Tornadoes were also reported in southwest Georgia.
Damage from the storm was also felt in north Florida, where winds — in some cases reaching 137 kph — caused an 18-wheeler truck to flip on its side.
The storm also dumped flooding rains north of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana and along the Mississippi coast, inundating streets and homes.
Later, the storm drenched the Florida Panhandle and, well inland, a broad expanse of Alabama.
Forecasters said the system could still dump up to 20 centimetres of rain in some parts of the region.
The centre of Claudette was located about 20 km east-northeast of Atlanta on Sunday morning. It was moving east-northeast at 28 kph, the National Hurricane Center said.
Forecasters predicted Claudette would strengthen back to tropical storm status on Monday over eastern North Carolina before heading out to sea in the Atlantic Ocean.
More than 20 people were rescued on Saturday by boat due to flooding in Northport, Alabama, WVUA-TV reported.
The Tuscaloosa County Emergency Management Agency tweeted that local Red Cross volunteers were on hand to help those who were affected. A shelter was opened in Northport.
#AceNewsDesk report ……Published: Jun.22: 2021:
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