Harper Lee, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' author, dies, NWS results from Monday's storms

Feb 19, 2016

Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Alabama native Harper Lee died this morning at the age 89.

Lee is best known for “To Kill A Mockingbird”, the story of a girl nicknamed Scout growing up in a Depression-era Southern town. It tells the story of about how a black man was wrongly accused of raping a white woman, and Scout's father, the resolute lawyer Atticus Finch, defends him despite threats and the scorn of many.

Don Noble is a professor emeritus of English at the University of Alabama.  He says the town of Monroeville will not be the same without her

 “One can still walk around in Monroeville go see the courthouse square, go in to the courtroom that was the sight for the great trial with Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird.  But it will be different.  People will know now that she’s gone and I think that does make a difference.”

Just last year, a second novel “Go Set a Watchman” was discovered by her publisher.  It was released last July. Harper Lee was 89-years-old. 

The National Weather Service says four tornadoes touched down throughout south Alabama when severe storms hit the state earlier this week.

Officials say damage surveys after the storms Monday showed that tornadoes ranging between EF0 and EF1 in strength touched down in Montgomery, Russell, Lee and Pike counties.

Officials say a twister with peak winds of 80 mph struck Montgomery and a tornado with peak winds of 105 mph struck Pike County. Forecasters say a tornado that hit Russell County had a peak wind speed of 90 mph and a fourth twister that began in Russell County and traveled into Lee County had a peak wind speed of 75 mph.

National Weather Service officials say the storms caused building damage and uprooted trees.

Alabama native and Olympic track and field legend Jesse Owens is being remembered today as the movie “Race” hits the silver screen today.  The movie highlights his struggle as an African American athlete and his accomplishments by winning four gold medals in the 1936 Olympic Games in then Nazi Germany.

Joyce Cole is a co-director of the Jesse Owens Museum.  She says Owens' legacy lives on in his hometown of Oakville..

“He’s never been forgotten.  You can ask any school child who Jesse Owens is and they’ll be able to answer it.  That might not be the case with other athletes in the state of Alabama.”

Cole says up to 70-thousand people a year visit the museum and it foot traffic increases during Olympic years.  This year, the 2016 Games are in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.