On March 25, 2021, a string of deadly tornadoes roared through Alabama, demolishing homes, toppling trees, and leaving thousands without power. The tornadoes were a part of a broad range of violent weather conditions sweeping across the Deep South. The tornadoes in Alabama resulted in five fatalities and an unknown number of injuries.
The confirmed deaths were in Calhoun County, located in the state’s eastern part, where multiple twisters sprang from a “supercell” of storms that later traveled to Georgia. Calhoun County Sheriff Matthew Wade said the twister moved diagonally across the county, mostly passing through rural areas, which prevented a higher death toll. At an evening briefing, Sheriff Wade said, “Tonight, five people lost their lives, and for those families, it will never be the same. Our hearts, our thoughts, and our prayers go to the families, and we are going to do our best to let them know we love them.”
As many as eight tornadoes reportedly hit Alabama on March 25, said John De Block, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Birmingham. He further stated that investigation teams would review eight suspected tornado tracks, and the final number of tornadoes would depend on whether any of the tracks can be connected.
Severe weather, which continued to rake the region, made search and rescue efforts complicated. Tornadic debris signatures showed a tornado that formed in southwest Alabama traveled about 100 miles and stayed on the ground for approximately an hour and 20 minutes.
The tornadoes wreaked havoc across towns from west to east. A local airport in the western city of Centreville was hit, according to Centreville Mayor Mike Oakley. He added, “We have airplanes torn apart like toys. We’ve got homes along here that are totally destroyed, trees down, power lines down. It’s pretty devastating.” More than 35,000 residents in Alabama were without power.
As weather conditions intensified, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued an emergency declaration for 46 counties and officials opened shelters in and around Birmingham. At times, flash floods were a problem in parts of Alabama. State troopers closed all lanes of an Interstate 65 section near Cullman as the floodwaters covered the roadway. They reopened the highway later in the day.