'Significant damage' in Alabama after storms hit Southeast

Possible tornadoes also reported

By MADISON PARK AND AMIR VERA, CNN
WIAT via CNN

(CNN) - Severe storms smacked the Southeast Monday, bringing possible tornadoes, powerful winds and hailstones the size of baseballs.

The damaging weather struck right before Tuesday, which is the first day of spring.

"There has been significant damage tonight in parts of Alabama," Gov. Kay Ivey said in a statement late Monday.

Possible tornadoes were reported to have torn apart homes, shredded buildings and knocked down power lines and trees.

"We are sending state resources to those affected areas, especially to Jacksonville and Calhoun County," Ivey said. "We will continue to monitor and respond to needs in other areas as needed."

In Jacksonville, Alabama, at least one person was injured after a possible tornado touched down on Monday. There are people trapped in the downed debris, and crews are searching for them, said Chris Roberts, assistant fire chief with Jacksonville Fire Department.

The storm also damaged the roofs of two residence halls and the sports coliseum at Jacksonville State University, which has about 8,500 students.

The college is on spring break this week, but campus police are going room to room at campus apartments and halls to check on any students who may have still been there when the storm hit, said Buffy Lockette, spokesperson for Jacksonville State University. She said there weren't any confirmed injuries as of late Monday.

Also in Alabama, the National Weather Service said that "a large and extremely dangerous" tornado had developed near Russellville.

Tracy Bragwell, who lives southwest of Russellville, said the storm ripped the metal roof off of his parents' home, damaged some trees and their carport. He posted a video of the damage to Facebook.

Bragwell, his wife, son and his parents went to his storm shelter about 10 minutes before the storm hit, he said. As they sheltered there for about an hour, the wind "sounded like a roaring train coming through," he said.

In Ardmore, Alabama, the storm collapsed roofs and entire homes.

Large hail pelted down in parts of the state, shattering car windows and hammering vehicles. Alabama Rep. Robert Aderholt tweeted a picture of the massive hail Monday.

Severe weather was expected to continue overnight, but Tuesday will mostly see a wind threat, CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward said.

Northwest and central parts of Georgia remain under tornado watch until 4 a.m. Tuesday.

Nor'easter

As if there hadn't been enough nor'easters already, the mid-Atlantic and New England will brace for the fourth such storm to hit the region in less than three weeks.

Forecast models are saying the low pressure system could move toward the coast, which would bring snow to Washington, DC, New York City, Boston, and possibly Portland, Maine, said CNN meteorologist Haley Brink.

Snowfall is more likely in portions of New Jersey, the New York City area, and southern New England Tuesday night into Wednesday, according to NWS. Boston could get 2-4 inches of snow and 3-6 inches could fall on Washington, DC, Brink said.

The system's exact path is still uncertain. At this point, the question is whether the system will continue east toward the coast or travel north. If it veers north, there will be significant snow in New England, but if it goes eastward, it'll mean less snow for the region.

Southern California

Santa Barbara County officials have issued a mandatory evacuation order for high-risk debris flow areas ahead of a midweek storm in California.

"We have no choice but do to this," said Santa Barbara Sheriff Bill Brown. "It's not worth risking lives to avoid evacuation."

Because of the recent burn scars from recent fires in the area, flash flooding remains a major concern. The storm may cause severe flooding and mudflow, according to Rob Lewin, director of the Santa Barbara County Office of Emergency Management.

The evacuation is effective Tuesday at 12 p.m. Pacific Standard Time for burn areas near the Thomas, Sherpa and Whittier fires. Those in affected areas have until 5 p.m. PST Tuesday to evacuate, Brown said.

The National Weather Service predicts between 5 and 10 inches of rain in the foothills and mountains, reaching between half an inch to three-quarters of an inch per hour.

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