WETUMPKA, Ala. – A tornado caused major damage in downtown Wetumpka, the city’s mayor said Saturday, with several buildings on the ground after an intense storm passed through the area.
One injured was reported by 4:30 p.m., said Mayor Jerry Willis. The injury wasn’t serious.
The damage seems to be confined on the west side of the city, located about 15 miles northeast of Montgomery. First Baptist Church and First Presbyterian Church received “major” damage, Willis said.
“It’s bad, when you love a place as much as we love Wetumpka, to see this devastation,” he said. “We have worked so hard to get here and to see it destroyed like this.”
Emergency crews from Millbrook, Prattville and Autauga County are offering assistance. Willis urged residents to stay out of the area and allow crews to work.
Sheriff Bill Franklin put a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.curfew into effect for downtown.
“We have several buildings downtown with serious structural damage,” he said. “People may not be able to see that damage. The buildings are in danger of collapsing. We don’t want anymore injuries than we already have.”
Emergency responders were conducting a door-to-door search before dusk. Widespread power outages are reported.
That area was under a tornado warning when the storm hit about 2:45 p.m.
“I was looking out my front door and the rain just hit harder than I ever seen before,” said Roberta Johnson, who lives on West Tallassee Street. “I ran to a bathroom and it hit, boom, the wind was howling. I never prayed so hard in my life.”
Her home received damage to its roof.
Officials also have confirmed damage in Autauga County after an intense storm passed through the area Saturday afternoon.
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A mobile home overturned near the Independence community, Sheriff Joe Sedinger said. No injuries have been reported at this time.
A home also received roof damage and several trees were reported down, said Ernie Baggett, director of the Autauga Emergency Management Agency.
The area was under a tornado warning at the time. The National Weather Service In Birmingham said a radar indicated a tornado was in the area.