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Published On: Wed, Feb 3rd, 2016

Tornadoes rip through Alabama, Mississippi, devastating homes, a church and a prison

Massive storms in the Southeast resulted in tornadoes in Alabama and Mississippi Tuesday, damaging or destroying dozens of homes, at least one church, as well as a prison. No fatalities or major injuries were reported at this time.

A small community near the Mississippi border, approximately 40 miles west of Tuscaloosa, Sapps, have some of the worst damage.

“I was in the bed asleep at the time and it woke me up. It sounded like a train,” Sapps resident Anthony Walker told AL.com. “It’s the first time in about 25 years a tornado hit here. Everybody all the way back down there has damage for about a mile or two.”

A mobile home was picked up and dropped, leaving it cracked in half near one street, recounts the article. Sapps has now been reduced to massive piles of rubble, downed trees, power lines and telephone poles littering roads and yards.

The National Weather Service in Birmingham confirmed that a “large and destructive tornado” touched down near the city of Aliceville, about 45 miles west of Tuscaloosa, early Tuesday evening.

A tornado touching down in Alabama on Tuesday photo/ screenshot of WBRC video coverage

A tornado touching down in Alabama on Tuesday photo/ screenshot of WBRC video coverage

Aliceville Police Chief Tony Jones told AL.com that he only knew of two minor injuries in Sapps. “The number one thing is this community itself,” Jones said. “Neighbors were getting neighbors out of homes and to the shelter.”

Aliceville is also home to a federal prison that was in the path of the tornado. A Pickens County sheriff’s deputy barred reports from going beyond the front gate of the facility Tuesday evening.

“They’re trying to take care of the inmates right now,” the deputy said. “The windows blew out and there’s extensive damage.”

The National Weather Service reported that the tornado also touched down in other West Alabama towns, which residents said potentially included Carrollton, Reform and Fayette, and it was unclear as of late Tuesday night whether any deaths or major injuries had taken place in those communities.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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