AP NEWS

Possible tornado hits small Alabama city’s downtown

January 20, 2019
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Rescue Workers search through damage after a tornado touchdown in Wetumpka, Ala., on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. The mayor of Wetumpka in central Alabama says a possible tornado has caused significant damage to the city's downtown, with several buildings on the ground after an intense storm passed through the area. (Mickey Welsh/The Montgomery Advertiser via AP)

WETUMPKA, Ala. (AP) — A possible tornado caused significant damage Saturday to a small Alabama city’s downtown, leveling several buildings after an intense storm passed through the area.

Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis told the Montgomery Advertiser that one injury was reported, but it wasn’t serious.

A senior center and the police department were among the buildings damaged from the afternoon storm, he said. Video from the scene showed several collapsed buildings, overturned cars and toppled trees and power lines.

State emergency management officials estimated 35 homes throughout Elmore County were damaged, according to WSFA-TV . That doesn’t include businesses, churches and other structures.

“It’s bad, when you love a place as much as we love Wetumpka, to see this devastation,” said Willis, who was grateful for the lack of injuries.

“If this had been during the week with schools in session (or) Sunday morning with churches at worship, it would have been absolutely devastating as far as injuries and even fatalities,” he told the newspaper. “We’ll come back. We’ll clean up and come back.”

Alabama Power said about 2,000 customers were without service Saturday in Wetumpka, and crews were evaluating the damage, WSFA-TV reported.

Wetumpka is in central Alabama, about 15 miles (24 kilometers) northeast of Montgomery. The federal government estimated the city’s population to be about 8,100 in 2017.

Damage also was confirmed in nearby Autauga County.

A mobile home overturned near the Independence community, but no injuries were reported, Sheriff Joe Sedinger said.

The National Weather Service in Birmingham said radar indicated a tornado was in the area.

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Information from: Montgomery Advertiser, http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com