One person killed in Alabama as severe weather, possible tornadoes rip state

Published 9:10 am Monday, April 20, 2020

A suspected tornado overturned a mobile home in south Alabama, killing one person, as severe weather blasted a wide area across the Deep South, including more than 250 reported tornadoes.

Jerry Oliver Williams, 61, of Henry County died when the storm struck a rural area about 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Coroner Derek Wright said Monday.

The area was under a tornado warning when winds flipped the home Williams shared with his wife and child, Wright said.

“He was in a mobile home, and the mobile home was destroyed by a tornado. He was in the wreckage of the mobile home. His wife and child were with him, and they were OK,” said Wright.

Williams was killed hours after firefighters worked through storms to contain a blaze at the main music building at the University of Alabama, about 200 miles northwest in Tuscaloosa. Authorities haven’t determined the cause of the fire, but it happened while strong storms with lightning were in the area.

Firefighters saved most of the instruments and uniforms belonging to Alabama’s “Million Dollar Band,” Mayor Walt Maddox said in a tweet.

The Storm Prediction Center received more than 250 reports of possible tornadoes, high winds, hail and storm damage from east Texas to south Georgia on Sunday. Teams from the National Weather Service will assess tracks to determine where tornadoes struck.

The storms hit a week after a two-day outbreak of more than 100 tornadoes that began Easter Sunday killed at least 36 people across the region.