Alabama Gulf coast cleans up after fatal Tropical Storm Claudette
Tropical Storm Claudette killed at least twelve people in Alabama as it dropped up to nine inches of rain on some areas of the Gulf Coast. The system swept across Mississippi and Alabama on Saturday flooding roads, including portions of the Mobile Bay Causeway. Some of the worst damage was in Escambia County.
“We had a tornado that came through about 7:30 that morning and it basically ran through the East Brewton area over into the north Brewton section too,” said Escambia County Sheriff Heath Jackson. “It devastated, I’d say, probably 50 residences. It just completely tore them apart. It hit two mobile home neighborhoods and just the destruction on them. There just wasn’t anything left of them. It displaced a lot of people in our community.”
Claudette hit less than three weeks after the start of hurricane season. The storm dropped up to nine inches of rain on areas of Mobile and Baldwin counties. Winds gusts of close to fifty miles an hour were recorded by the National Weather Service in Mobile.Some of the worst damage was in Escambia County where a tornado near Brewton destroyed about 50 homes.
“There were three people injured,” said Sheriff Jackson. “One man was pulled out of his residence and it threw him across a field, broke his neck, but he’s doing good. He’s alive, so we didn’t have any fatalities, just three injuries and they were all transported to our local hospital and then transported out to trauma centers."
Jackson says the community is now working on rebuilding after the storm. Claudette is also blamed for slick streets that caused a fiery car crash in Butler County that killed ten people, including nine children. Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock says the vehicles likely hydroplaned on wet roads. Eight of the dead were associated with the Alabama Sheriffs Youth Ranches.