Severe weather that claimed nearly two dozen lives devastated parts of Alabama on Sunday, March 3. On Tuesday, March 5, President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration for the state, just a day after Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency.
Several tornadoes ripped through Alabama, on March 3, killing 23 people and injuring nearly 100 others. On March 4. Gov. Ivey declared a state of emergency, effectively lifting hours-of-service regulations for certain drivers involved in relief efforts.
The March 4 declaration was an expansion of an emergency declaration signed by the governor on Feb. 23 for severe weather. The extended declaration includes weather events and counties not covered in the February declaration.
On March 5, President Trump followed through with a tweet he posted the previous day promising “A Plus treatment” in federal relief:
According to the National Weather Service, six tornadoes have been confirmed: two in Macon/Lee Counties, two in Barbour County, one in Bullock County and one in Autauga County. Three of those tornadoes were EF-2 tornadoes, which are those with wind speeds of 111-135 mph. Two other tornadoes were measures as an EF-0 with winds between 65 and 85 mph.
Macon and Lee Counties experienced the most destructive tornado, accounting for all 23 deaths and all but one injury. The EF-4 tornado, measured at 166-200 mph, hit wind speeds of 170 mph that left a damage path of nearly 27 miles with maximum width of nearly 1 mile. The tornado began in Society Hill at 2 p.m. and dissipated in Smiths Station at approximately 2:30 p.m.
Vehicle is destroyed in Alabama tornado that killed 23 people. (courtesy of National Weather Service)
Assistance from Federal Emergency Management Agency Public Assistance Program includes grants for temporary housing and home repairs, low-cost loans to cover uninsured property losses, and other programs to help individuals and business owners recover from the effects of the disaster.
“This is a difficult time for the state of Alabama, but knowing that we have this additional assistance, and the support of our president and folks across the country, we will get through this together,” Gov. Ivey said in a statement. We will recover, and we will lift up Lee County in this time of need.”
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