Early Friday, the city of Newnan, Georgia, reported damage in and around the historic downtown as a result of a tornado, and repair teams were on-site to clear affected areas. The National Weather Service had warned that the Newnan tornado was a “particularly dangerous situation” and told residents to take cover.
The city was “hit hard and there has been significant damage throughout the city,” Gina Weathersby, Community Relations Manager for Newnan Utilities told CNN. The city is located approximately 40 miles southwest of Atlanta.
The city of Pelham, Alabama, saw damage to about 60 homes, said Pelham fire chief Michael Reid.
“We are also very grateful that from all the damage done no one was injured,” said Pelham City Manager Gretchen DiFante. “We’re very grateful for that tonight.”
In total, there were 22 tornado reports in Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Mississippi – and at 2:20 p.m. ET, at least 10 million people were under tornado surveillance.
At least 5 dead in Alabama
Fourteen tornadoes were reported in Alabama alone on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
In Calhoun, three adults were killed when one struck the town of Ohatchee, about 62 miles northeast of Birmingham, according to Calhoun County Coroner Pat Brown. And a man in a mobile home in Ohatchee also died. According to the coroner, the fifth death in the county was a woman in a mobile home in Wellington.
In Pelham, Cesar Villaseñor, 22, was in a van with his boss when they got caught in a possible tornado. They tried to hide at his boss’s house, Villaseñor said.
“We were literally half a mile from his house and everything was clear. Out of nowhere it starts to rain and I started recording – everything is actually starting to go to hell.” In a video that Villaseñor shared, you can see debris flying through the air, uprooted trees on the ground and houses damaged.
“I was like, this is probably it. I’m probably dead,” he said. “At one point the van shook so badly that I thought it was like turning around. I was just shaking. I couldn’t control my hands.”
Alex McNair, owner of Corefit Strong in Pelham, Alabama, told CNN that his gym was practically destroyed by a tornado.
“The roof was lifted off, stones were thrown through the windows of our garage doors, debris was thrown into the gym, our HVAC unit was ripped off our roof, glass thrown through the gym, our floor was destroyed along with other roof and structures damage to other parts of the building, ”McNair wrote to CNN, but most importantly, he said, no one gets hurt.
The house has torn the foundations
There was a devastating scene in a Shelby County neighborhood southeast of Birmingham.
A tornado had completely ripped a house off its foundation, 30 meters from where it originally stood.
Residents fumbled through the rubble with flashlights in the dark, hoping to save some of their belongings. Broken furniture and a red tractor were all in a pile.
This was also an animal shelter with more than 50 horses and a few dozen goats and sheep. With the gates gone, the animals walked about disoriented. A tremendous effort is now being made to save these animals.
All trees around the house have been swept away. And the two older people who lived there were at a local veteran hospital with unknown injuries, officials said.
CNN’s Derek Van Dam, Robert Shackelford, Alta Spells, Judson Jones, Dakin Andone and Jamiel Lynch contributed to this report.