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Tornadoes rip through Southern U.S.

The death toll continues to rise after a torndado outbreak ripped through the South

The damage in Tuscaloosa immediately after a mile-wide tornado tore through the city. (Photo taken by Chandler Davis)
The damage in Tuscaloosa immediately after a mile-wide tornado tore through the city. (Photo taken by Chandler Davis)
More than 240 people have been killed in six states after the tornado-producing storms ravaged the Southern United States Wednesday.

ATVN spoke with a University of Alabama student, Chandler Davis, who took shelter while a tornado tore through Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the city hardest hit by the storms.

Chandler, a senior at the University of Alabama, and her boyfriend were watching the news in his home in Tuscaloosa Wednesday evening, and decided to heed the tornado warnings. They took shelter in a closet in the house, and put their dogs in a bathroom.

Davis says that only minutes later she could hear the house being pulled apart by the tornado.

“I could just hear it coming through the back of our house,” Davis said. “Once it was over we just walked outside and absolutely everything was destroyed, just absolutely flattened to the ground.”

After the commotion, Chandler and her boyfriend emerged from the bathroom and she sent her sister in Miami a picture via text message of what she saw outside.
The home and many other homes on the street were completely destroyed. Chandler’s car was severely damaged by the tornado. She described it as an “absolute nightmare.”

“My neighbor woke up in the middle of a field,” Davis said. “He was in the hospital with a concussion and he ended up passing away.”

Dozens of tornadoes tore through homes and businesses Wednesday night, not just in Tuscaloosa, leaving behind the deadliest outbreak in nearly 40 years. The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center said it received 137 tornado reports around the region.

After Davis had been hit with one tornado, she said she had to move fast because another one was on its way.

“I’ve been walking miles,” Davis said. “Once our house was destroyed there was another tornado coming, so we had to pack what was left and run to campus.”

Davis took refuge at the University of Alabama and then walked to a friends house to stay the night.

Davis’ sister Chelsea had been trying to communicate with Chandler and her boyfriend, but cell phone service is poor in the area. She says her parents, who live in the Atlanta area, would like to drive to Alabama to get her sister out of the city, but road closures have prohibited them from being able to access the area.

A mile-wide tornado ripped through Tuscaloosa, one of the hardest hit cities, and reportedly killed 162 people in the state of Alabama; 32 in Mississippi, 32 in Tennessee, 13 in Georgia, eight in Virginia and one in Kentucky, according to NPR.

NPR, like many other news sites and blogs, has posted several videos capturing the massive tornadoes. 

Obama will be visiting Alabama, the hardest hit state, on Friday.

Davis remains in disbelief about the experience she had and says the tragedy is all around her.

“I was just walking by and you just see people crying on the street because they lost their roommate or their best friend,” Davis said. “I have never seen anything like it.”

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