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8 Killed as Violent Storms Rake Alabama

<i> From Associated Press</i>

A line of fierce storms struck north and central Alabama on Wednesday night, with authorities reporting at least eight deaths and scores injured as strong winds and baseball-sized hail battered the state.

More than a dozen people were injured at Open Door Church in Birmingport, where church members sang hymns and prayed as the storm pounded the structure, according to witnesses.

Birmingham-area hospitals reported more than 24 people being treated for injuries sustained in the storm.

Lee Helms, director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, said eight deaths were confirmed in the Jefferson County area west of Birmingham.

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Wendy Wilkerson of the Jefferson County EMA said about 100 homes were either heavily damaged or destroyed by violent winds in the Oak Grove and Sylvan Springs communities near Birmingham.

Kendra Vines was with four relatives in her home in Sylvan Springs when strong winds struck the house as they hid in a basement corner.

“That was the only corner left standing, thank the Lord,” she told WBMA-TV.

Violent weather was reported at numerous points across the state.

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The National Weather Service reported a possible tornado touchdown near Concord, in the western part of Jefferson County.

Tuscaloosa County officials also reported damage to several structures, including a church, and injuries, although their number and severity wasn’t immediately known.

Alabama Power reported numerous power lines were downed across western Jefferson County. Power outages were also reported in DeKalb and Chambers counties.


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