More Tornadoes Hit Southeast & Gulf Coast, Selma Marchers Get Congressional Gold Medal

Feb 24, 2016

Tornado damage in Pensacola, Fla.

Parts of the Gulf Coast are reeling after a bout of severe weather that caused Governor Robert Bentley to declare a preemptive state of emergency.

A storm reportedly knocked down trees and damaged property in Reform, Alabama, but no one was hurt. The National Weather Service tweeted that radar indicated a possible tornado in that area.

NWS radar also showed a tornado briefly touching down in Hackleburg, in northwest Alabama. Some roofs were damaged, but no injuries were reported.

Alabama Power says approximately 12,000 of its customers statewide are currently without electricity due to the storms. Nearly half of those are in the Birmingham area.

Pensacola, Florida was hit by a confirmed tornado. That storm leveled an apartment complex and damaged several more buildings. There are six reported injuries but no deaths. Three people were killed and 31 were hospitalized, some critically injured, as storms tore through Louisiana and Mississippi.

The National Weather Service says much of Alabama will remain under a flash flood warning through this afternoon.

Alabama’s voting rights marchers are set to receive a prestigious honor today.

President Obama will present them with the Congressional Gold Medal. These civil rights activists were attacked in Selma in 1965 during what became known as “Bloody Sunday.”

Bennie Lee Tucker took part in the marches to be recognized in today’s ceremony. He spoke to Alabama Public Radio during last year’s 50th anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.”

Tucker says he volunteered to be a human shield for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I was young, and I didn’t even think at all, because I was so excited to have the opportunity to protect him. But I had the feeling that Dr. King would never be assassinated in Selma, Alabama. I said to myself, ‘He will be assassinated somewhere else.’”

President Obama signed the order to honor the Selma marchers while he was aboard Air Force One on his way to Selma for the 50th anniversary ceremony.

If you’re looking for a Bible-minded town, a new study says Birmingham still ranks high on the list.

A new report by the American Bible Society ranks Birmingham as the second-most Bible-minded city in the nation. That’s a slip, since the Magic City took the first-place spot last year. The top ten list is filled with Southern cities. This year, top honors go to Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Andrew Hood is with the American Bible Society. He believes Southern cities occupy the top of the list due to their history.

“A lot of the areas that rank high on this study have a deeply rooted culture of church engagement, Bible engagement, and engagement with their faith. But obviously, there’s something that carries it on into the present.”

Hood says a city’s actions and attitudes establish the annual list for most Bible-minded town.