BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Powerful thunderstorms ripped through Alabama early Monday, killing at least three people and producing heavy damage, just hours after tornadoes downed trees and power lines and left thousands in Arkansas without electricity.
The predawn storms struck the Birmingham area, with the towns of Center Point and Trussville just to the northeast of the city being particularly hard hit, emergency management officials said.
Two people were killed in Center Point and one in Oak Grove, which lies to the southeast of Birmingham, Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency spokesman Mark Kelly said.
"Center Point was hit pretty badly," Kelly said.
"We have major, major damage," said Bob Ammons, another Jefferson County EMA official, speaking of Center Point, Trussville, and some unincorporated areas of the county.
In Mississippi, the National Weather Service was tracking a thunderstorm to the southwest of Hattiesburg that was producing wind gusts of 40 to 50 miles per hour.
These were the latest in a series of powerful January storms to have torn through the Southeast.
On Sunday, twisters downed trees and power lines in Arkansas leaving thousands without power.
A tornado tore into an area outside of Fordyce, about 70 miles south of state capital Little Rock, damaging houses and felling trees and power lines as it moved, according to Accuweather.com.
Accuweather carried reports of five other twisters touching down in Arkansas, which was pelted by soft-ball sized hailstones and buffeted by winds gusting up to 70 miles per hour.
As of late Sunday, roughly 13,400 homes were without power across Arkansas as the storms intensified, according to utility provider Entergy Arkansas Inc.
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