'Extremely dangerous' US tornado leaves 100 million people on alert
There has been severe damage in parts of Alabama after a tornado tore through on Monday evening.
A "large and extremely dangerous" tornado has left people with serious injuries and caused significant damage in parts of Alabama in the United States.
National Weather Service (NWS) in Birmingham, Alabama, said Jefferson County and surrounding areas were thrashed by the tornado on Monday night, including ripping through a hotel and tearing off part of the roof of a church.
Jefferson County Coroner Bill Yates confirmed at least one fatality related to the tornado with search and rescue operations are still underway.
Injuries ranging from minor to serious have been reported with victims transported to area hospitals, Jim Coker Director of Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) told CNN.
He did not say how many people were injured.
Mr Coker told CNN the damage from the tornado is "considerable," which "hit a heavy retail and residential area."
A house collapsed on a family, but their condition is not known at this time, Mr Coker said.
There are five fire department heavy rescue teams from Jefferson County responding to the areas of Fultondale and Centre Point.
Jefferson County EMA is using a drone and helicopters to track the path of the storm along with the NWS, according to Coker.
Hotel and church suffer damage
Video footage shows that the Hampton Inn in Fultondale, which is located just north of Birmingham and has a population of around 9000, according to census data, sustained significant damage during the storm.
It has been reported that guests staying at the hotel were able to escape the building and sought shelter in a nearby restaurant when another line of storms came through.
NWS Birmingham said in a tweet, they are monitoring reports "after a tornado impacted the Fultondale area of Jefferson Co. a short time ago."
"Significant damage has been reported. We will inspect the damage to determine the strength of the tornado."https://twitter.com/NWSBirmingham/status/1353939999302045697?s=20
"At 10.54 PM CST (3.54pm AEDT), a confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado was located over Chalkville, or near Trussville, moving east at 50 mph (80.5km/h)," the agency said earlier on Twitter.
About 21 kilometres northeast of Birmingham, the city of Centre Point, which has a population of more than 16,000, also saw "quite a bit of damage" from the storm, Mayor Bobby Scott said.
Mr Scott said that the back half of Hilldale Baptist Church's roof is missing, and the city's recreation centre also suffered damage in the storm.
"Looks like we will have a long day ahead of us tomorrow," Mr Scott said.
"Hopefully we can get everything covered up.
"We don't have any injuries to report right now so we're definitely grateful for that."
The Jefferson County EMA has asked people to stay out of the area as first responders try to reach the most damaged locations.
"On top of road dangers such as power lines and debris ... traffic is clogging the roads," Jefferson County EMA said on Twitter.
Eleven schools in the area will be closed for both in-person and virtual learning Tuesday following the storm.https://twitter.com/EMAJeffCoAL/status/1353961918210387968?s=20
Tornado warnings in effect through Tuesday morning
A tornado warning was issued Monday night for Jefferson County, Alabama, NWS Birmingham said in a tweet.
The agency has since issued tornado warnings and watches for several counties as the line of storms moves northeast through the state.
A tornado watch remains in effect for parts of Alabama and Georgia.
The line of storms is part of one of two larger systems that has more than 100 million people under winter weather alerts.
The storm will dump significant snow from the Central Plains to the mid-Atlantic Coast through Tuesday night.
The deepest snow will pile up across Iowa.
Some of the snow will be very heavy, with rates of up to five centimetres an hour, according to the Weather Prediction Centre.