12 dead in Alabama after tropical storm; Claudette likely to re-strengthen as it moves toward East Coast
- Claudette was downgraded to tropical depression but was expected to re-strengthen Sunday night as it heads toward the East Coast.
- Alabama officials said 10 people, including nine children, died in a crash that was likely caused by the storm.
- Claudette continued to produce heavy rains and the threat of flash floods across much of the Southeast on Sunday morning.
Tropical Depression Claudette likely left at least 12 dead in Alabama as the storm continued to batter and flood parts of the U.S. Southeast as it moved toward the Atlantic Coast and a predicted re-strengthening.
Ten people, including nine children, died in a two-vehicle Alabama collision on Saturday, that Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock told local media was likely caused by storm-related hydroplaning. Garlock did not immediately respond to a voicemail left at his office on Sunday.
Separately, a 24-year-old father and his 3-year-old son died in their home when a falling tree struck the residence, Capt. Marty Sellers of the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office told the Tuscaloosa News.
In a Facebook post, Tuscaloosa City Council President Kip Tyner also confirmed the father-and-son deaths and said more than 7 inches of rain had produced widespread flooding, evacuations and trapped motorists.
The deaths came after Claudette battered parts of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle with high winds on Saturday, tearing roofs off houses and flipping an 18-wheeler and a mobile home. The storm also sparked reports of multiple tornadoes.
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More than 20 people were rescued by boat due to flooding in Northport, Alabama, WVUA-TV reported. Additionally, Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service Capt. Bryan Harrell told news outlets a search was underway for a man who was possibly swept away by flooding.
Storm total rainfall of 5 to 10 inches with isolated 15 inch amounts was observed in southeast Louisiana, southern Mississippi, southern Alabama, and the western Florida panhandle, the National Hurricane Center reported late Sunday morning.
Claudette continued to produce heavy rains and the threat of flash floods across much of the Southeast, the report said.
Carrying maximum sustained wind of 30 miles per hour, the storm is forecast to produce additional rainfall totals of 1 to 3 inches, with isolated highs of up to 6 inches, across Alabama, the Florida Panhandle, northern and central Georgia, and Upstate South Carolina during Sunday morning, the report advised.
A flooded neighborhood is seen after Tropical Storm Claudette passed through in Slidell, La., Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Photo: Gerald Herbert, AP)
Bands of heavy rain will occur across portions of central and southern Georgia, central and coastal South Carolina, and eastern North Carolina through Monday morning as the weather system tracks north and east, the report said.
“Considerable flash, urban and small stream flooding impacts, as well as new and renewed minor to isolated moderate river flooding are possible across these areas,” the hurricane center warned.
Claudette is forecast to re-strengthen into a tropical storm Sunday night over eastern North Carolina, the National Hurricane Center said. Additional strengthening could occur over the western Atlantic Ocean early on Tuesday.
Tropical Depression Claudette’s strength: High winds, tornadoes and drenching rain reported as Tropical Depression Claudette batters parts of Gulf Coast
Contributing: Associated Press
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