Afternoon storms strike first in Cullman

A tornado touched down in Cullman around 3 p.m. April 27, moving through the downtown area and leaving behind significant damage in its wake.

The FOX6 Cullman web cam caught the storm live as it ripped through the area before the camera itself went out. Our crew on the scene managed to capture live video and a couple of still shots of the twister as it touched down nearby.

According to preliminary data from the National Weather Service, an EF-2 tornado touched down east of Cold Springs where it left damage to sheds, trees and chicken coops in its wake as it tracked toward Wallace State Community College in Hanceville. Eight large metal power poles were bent over and metal roofing was torn off buildings. Video: Damage at Wallace State Community College

"We will get through this, the spirit of Wallace State has been around strong, we've seen bad times before," Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Tomesa Smith said. "We will rebuild and we will clean. We will get back to what we need to do for students."

In Hanceville, large pine trees toppled onto houses and the roof of the high school gym was damaged. The tornado continued to move toward Walter and then south of Holly Pond. Video: Hanceville High School damaged in storms

Cullman City Council President Garlan Gudger said that the 38 miles the tornado traveled was the worst 38 miles it could have traveled, tearing up downtown Cullman and neighborhoods and causing destruction across the county. Video: Cullman City Councilman discusses damage

Traffic was at a standstill, trees and power lines were down everywhere, making most of the roads completely impassable. The Cullman Courthouse suffered severe damage, as well as the First Federal Bank and First Baptist Church and at least one home. Video: Cullman cleans up First Baptist Church.

 Governor Robert Bentley made his first stop of tornado ravaged cities in Cullman. He walked through the downtown area in shock. Video: Gov. Bentley tours Cullman day after storms

On Thursday a dusk to dawn curfew was enacted for the county, and it was announced Sunday that city and county schools would be closed "until further notice."

FEMA qualified the county to apply for federal aid and told residents that if they experienced any damage to their property, they may be eligible for assistance. Six hundred buildings in Cullman were impacted in some way. Video: FEMA gives instructions to victims in Cullman

Over the weekend, members of Temple Baptist Church turned its mission for the homeless into a mobile food kitchen, making hot meals for anyone who needed it. Restaurants and residents donated food, which was quickly placed on the grill that was fired up all day long. Video: Feeding the masses 

"They just started bringing it to us, whatever they brought, we'd cook. And we just kept cooking. Those grills have not cooled off from the time we started," Pastor Malcom Carter said.

Christian rock group Casting Crowns gave a free concert at the fairgrounds in Cullman, a chance for donations to be raised and for the hurting community to come together. Video: Casting Crowns gives free relief concert.

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