(AP) — Twelve people
were killed in Alabama
as Tropical Depression Claudette
swept across the southeastern United States
, causing flash flooding and spawning tornadoes that destroyed dozens of homes.
According to Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock, the vehicles likely hydroplaned on wet roads, killing ten people, including nine children
, on Saturday. Multiple people were also injured, according to Butler County Sheriff Danny Bond, who said the victims were not immediately identified.
Meanwhile, a 24-year-old man and a 3-year-old boy were killed when a tree fell on their house
Saturday just outside the Tuscaloosa city limits, according to Capt. Marty Sellers of the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit, who did not immediately identify the victims and could not be reached early Sunday.
As much as 12 inches (30 centimeters) of rain
was reported earlier from Claudette along the Mississippi Gulf Coast
, the deaths occurred as drenching rains pelted much of northern Alabama and Georgia
Forecasters issued a tropical storm
warning in North Carolina
from the Little River Inlet to the Outer Banks town of Duck, and a tropical storm watch
in South Carolina
from the Santee River to the Little River Inlet.
The latest NHC advisory is available at https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB,
and your local weather forecast is available at https://t.co/SiZo8ohZMN
pic.twitter.com/fSzNeIDZxT — National Hurricane Center
(@NHC_Atlantic) June 20, 2021
Top winds remained near 30 mph (45 kph), and forecasters at the National Hurricane Center predicted Claudette would strengthen back to tropical storm status as it moved out to sea in the Atlantic Ocean
on Monday over eastern North Carolina.
On Sunday, flash flood warnings were issued for northern Georgia, the majority of South Carolina, the coast of North Carolina, and parts of southeast Alabama and the Florida
According to WVUA-TV, more than 20 people were rescued by boat
due to flooding in Northport, Alabama. The Tuscaloosa County Emergency Management Agency tweeted that local Red Cross volunteers were on hand to assist those who were affected, and a shelter was opened.
According to the National Weather Service
in Birmingham, Village Creek in Birmingham rose above flood stage to 13 feet (4 meters).
The storm was about 25 miles (35 kilometers) west of Atlanta, moving
east-northeast at 13 mph (20 kph), according to a National Hurricane Center advisory issued Sunday morning.
Claudette was declared organized enough to be named a tropical storm early Saturday morning, after the storm's center of circulation had made landfall southwest of New Orleans
A suspected tornado spawned by the storm destroyed or severely damaged at least 50 homes in a small town in Alabama, just north of the Florida border
, shortly after landfall.
Sheriff Heath Jackson
of Escambia County said a suspected tornado “pretty much leveled” a mobile home park, toppled trees onto houses, and ripped the roof off a high school gym
in or near the towns of Brewton and East Brewton, about 48 miles (77 kilometers) north of Pensacola, Florida.
“It kind of affected everyone,” Jackson said, “but because those mobile homes are built so close together, it can take a toll on them a lot more than it can on houses that are spread apart.”
In southwest Georgia, tornadoes were also reported.
Winds reaching 85 mph (137 kph) in some places caused an 18-wheeler to flip on its side in north Florida.
The storm also dumped flooding rains north of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana
and along the Mississippi coast, inundating streets and pushing water
into homes in some areas; later, the storm drenched the Florida Panhandle and a wide swath of Alabama.
Forecasters predict that the system will drop 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) of rain in the region, with isolated accumulations of 8 inches (20 centimeters) possible.
Separately, Tropical Storm Dolores made near-hurricane force landfall on Mexico
's west coast and had dissipated over Mexico as of Sunday morning, with maximum sustained winds of 25 mph (35 kph) and a center of circulation about 170 miles (275 kilometers) east of Mazatlan, Mexico.
Throughout the weekend, heavy rain totals of up to 15 inches (38 centimeters) were expected across Mexico's southwest and western coastal areas, with forecasters warning of the possibility of flash flooding and mudslides.
Kelli Kennedy of the Associated Press
in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, contributed reporting to this story. Bynum reported from Savannah, Georgia.