“I call on everyone in the path of these tornadoes … to be vigilant,” urged Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. The southern US state suffered multiple tornadoes on Thursday.
Residents shared images of the inclement weather on social media, showing debris flying in the sky, trees on the ground and damaged houses.
In the town of Ohatchee, three people from the same family who were in “a wooden structure” were killed, as well as one person in a mobile home, said Calhoun County Medical Examiner Pat Brown. A fifth person also died in Wellington, he added.
Calhoun County Emergency Services asked residents to “take cover immediately.” The Calhoun Sheriff’s Office reported “substantial damage” in Ohatchee and near Wellington.
According to the website poweroutage.us, more than 35,000 homes in Alabama were without power in the late afternoon.
Bad weather is expected to continue into the evening, authorities said.