BREWTON, Ala. (AP/WKRG) — Authorities in Alabama say a suspected tornado spurred by Tropical Storm Claudette demolished or badly damaged at least 50 homes in a small town just north of the Florida border.
Sheriff Heath Jackson in Escambia County said a suspected tornado “pretty much leveled” a mobile home park, toppled trees onto houses and ripped the roof off of a high school gym. Most of the damage was done in or near the towns of Brewton and East Brewton, about 48 miles north of Pensacola, Florida.
“I kind of affected everybody,” Jackson said. “But with those mobile homes being built so close together it can take a toll on them a lot more than it can on houses that are spread apart.”
Three people have been confirmed injured in addition to the many homes damaged.
Photos of the Brewton area shared on Facebook show toppled trees, including one that landed on a house, as well a long stretch of debris that a local news outlet said was from a badly damaged trailer park.
Brewton Police Chief Kenneth Brazile is asking people to stay off the roads in Brewton after Tropical Storm Claudette. The storm produced a tornado around 7:30 a.m.
Damage from the storm was also felt in north Florida, where winds – in some cases reaching 85 mph – caused an 18-wheeler to flip on its side.
The National Hurricane Center declared Claudette organized enough to qualify as a named storm at 4 a.m. Saturday, well after the storm’s center of circulation had come ashore southwest of New Orleans. By Saturday afternoon, it was 80 miles (130 kilometers) north-northwest of Mobile, Alabama, with sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph). It was moving north-northeast at 14 mph (22 kph). Most of the heavy weather was happening far to the north and east of the center.