More than 90 homes damaged in Hale County after multiple tornadoes

Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 10:29 PM CST
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HALE COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Cleaning up after a tornado isn’t new for neighbors in Hale County. EMA officials said they have been hit with tornadoes or strong straight line winds more than ten times in the last year.

EMA Director Russell Weeden said Hale County used to average about two tornadoes per year, but the county just keeps getting hit, with three already in 2023. Weeden said safety response is just getting better with each storm.

“Both stayed on the ground the whole time, one was like 24 miles long,” Weeden said of the two separate tornadoes that ripped through Hale County this week. “They really did a lot of damage.”

EMA Director Russell Weeden said his damage assessment showed more than 92 homes are now damaged, with many mobile homes being totally destroyed.

“Trees fell on all these mobile homes, which totally destroyed them,” he said. “There’s a lot of major damage, where sometimes you’ll just have roof damage or what not.”

But damage isn’t new for Hale County residents.

“Where we are at in Akron now, just got hit last month with a tornado, so now some of the same homes that had roof damage, are now also destroyed by this tornado. We’ve had lots of damage this year in our county.”

But, Weeden said this busy severe weather year has left residents more prepared.

“It does make our citizens much more aware of the weather,” he said. “I feel like they pay way more attention and I feel like that is one of the things that leads to no injuries or fatalities.”

During this week’s storms, Hale County had no injuries or fatalities. He said many residents went to storm shelters or site built homes in advance.

“It makes you feel good to know we didn’t have any injuries, where we could have just as easily had 20 fatalities.”

The county has been working to get six new FEMA funded storm shelters since last year, but none have come in yet.

Weeden said they are just waiting on FEMA to release the funds, but the county was actually awarded six additional shelters. Once they arrive, the goal is to have one in every community in the county.

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