The South braces for tornado outbreak

By Meg Wagner, Judson Jones and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 9:57 p.m. ET, March 25, 2021
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9:54 p.m. ET, March 25, 2021

3 members of the same family killed in Alabama's Calhoun County following tornado

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch

Three adults from one family are of the five people that died due to a tornado in Calhoun County, coroner Pat Brown told CNN.

The three adults were all in a wood frame residence in Ohatchee that was destroyed.

An adult male in a mobile home in Ohatchee also died, he said.

The fifth death was an adult female in a mobile home in Wellington, Alabama.

The coroner is not releasing any other information on the individuals as they work to notify next of kin.

9:23 p.m. ET, March 25, 2021

New tornado watch issued for central Alabama

A new tornado watch has been issued for central Alabama, including Birmingham, Tuscaloosa and Montgomery, and is in effect until 1 a.m. CT, according to the Storm Prediction Center. 

A few tornadoes are possible this evening and into the overnight hours as the final round of severe storms moves through the state. 

In addition to tornadoes, damaging wind gusts to 70 mph and hail up to 1.5 inches in diameter are also possible.

9:20 p.m. ET, March 25, 2021

Roughly 60 homes in Pelham, Alabama, sustained damage during tornado

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Vasha Hunt/AP
Vasha Hunt/AP

Approximately 60 homes sustained damaged in Pelham, Alabama, during a tornado Thursday, Pelham Fire Chief Michael Reid said during a news conference Thursday night.

Of those homes, 22 sustained "major damage," Reid said.

Reid said there were no injuries or fatalities reported and a primary and secondary search of the hardest-hit areas have been completed.

About 200 people took cover in Pelham Park Middle School, which is a designated tornado shelter, Thursday, Pelham city manager Gretchen DiFante said. 

"We're also very grateful that of all the damage done, nobody was hurt," DiFante said. "We're very thankful for that this evening."

DiFante said that public works staff are out cleaning up the streets and a cleanup effort for tomorrow is being organized by the school and local churches. 

Police Chief Pat Cheatwood said the city is fortunate that no one was injured.

"When you drive through these areas it's very devastating," Cheatwood said. "It broke my heart to see the kind of damage these homes sustained."

Cheatwood said his officers will be out during the curfew and said anyone who sees suspicious activity should report it to the authorities.

8:01 p.m. ET, March 25, 2021

Tornado watch issued for portions of Georgia, including Atlanta

From CNN's Taylor Ward

A new tornado watch has been issued for west-central and north Georgia, including Atlanta, according to the Storm Prediction Center. 

The watch will remain in effect until 2 a.m. ET.

A few tornadoes are possible, along with damaging wind gusts to 70 mph, as the severe thunderstorms continue to move from Alabama into Georgia this evening.

7:54 p.m. ET, March 25, 2021

First lady Jill Biden and actress Jennifer Garner postpone Alabama trip due to tornadoes

From CNN's Kate Bennett

Due to the tornadoes in Alabama, first lady Jill Biden has postponed her trip there with Jennifer Garner tomorrow. Biden was scheduled to visit Birmingham and Jasper, Alabama.

 Here is a statement from the East Wing:

"Due to the severe weather across the South and tragic loss of life in the state of Alabama, the First Lady and Jennifer Garner are postponing their travel to Birmingham and Jasper, AL."

7:39 p.m. ET, March 25, 2021

Nearly 55,000 customers without power across four states

From CNN's Hollie Silverman

Police respond to a downed tree across a street in Helena, Alabama, on Thursday, March 25.
Police respond to a downed tree across a street in Helena, Alabama, on Thursday, March 25. Vasha Hunt/AP

Nearly 55,000 customers are without power in the US Southeast, according to poweroutage.us.

A total of 54,474 customers are without power across four states as tornadoes and heavy thunderstorms continue to move through the area.

As of 7:30 p.m. ET, 36,398 customers were without power in Alabama. An additional 4,895 are without power in Georgia.

Florida reported 9,550 outages and South Carolina reported 3,631 customers without power.

7:21 p.m. ET, March 25, 2021

"This is probably it": Alabama man says he thought he was going to die as he drove through the storm

From CNN’s Christina Zdanowicz

Cesar Villaseñor was with his boss when they encountered a potential tornado hitting Pelham, Alabama, on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. local time. They were trying to drive to his boss’ home, near Pelham High School, when incredibly strong winds associated with a tornadic supercell hit.

“We were like maybe 45 minutes away from my boss’ house and since I live in mobile home, we were going to wait in his house while the storm passed by,” Villaseñor told CNN by phone. “We were literally half a mile from his house and everything was all clear. Out of nowhere, it starts raining and I started recording – everything starts going to hell basically.”

As they went through the storm, Villaseñor, a 22-year-old carpenter who lives in Pelham, thought this may be it.

“My reaction, I was like, 'this is probably it. I’m probably dead,'” he said. “At one point, the van was shaking really bad to the point that I thought it was like to flip over. I was just shaking. I couldn’t control my hands.”

Villaseñor later heard that his home was safe and not impacted by the storm.

 

7:37 p.m. ET, March 25, 2021

Severe damage reported in Helena, Alabama, mayor says

From CNN’s Jamiel Lynch

WBMA
WBMA

Severe damage was reported in Helena, Alabama, after a tornado touched down earlier this afternoon, Mayor Brian Puckett told CNN’s Pamela Brown during "The Situation Room."

“We’ve had severe damage through our old town ... and now we’re just preparing for this next band,” he said.

Puckett said even with all the damage, there are no reports of injuries in the city.

Helena is 20 miles south of Birmingham.

7:03 p.m. ET, March 25, 2021

Tornado emergency issued south of Birmingham

From CNN's Dave Hennen

A potentially deadly tornado is currently located about 35 miles southeast of Birmingham, near the town of Columbiana, Alabama. 

The National Weather Service in Birmingham has issued a tornado emergency with the storm, which is moving over more populated areas. 

The warning includes nearly 35,000 people and the cities of Columbiana, Shelby, Wilsonville, Oak Grove and Childersburg are in the storm’s path over the next hour.