PELHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A strong tornado wreaked havoc Thursday afternoon in Pelham, damaging many homes in the area.
A tornado struck the city around 1:30 p.m., causing the most damage in the Crosscreek and Chandalar subdivisions, city authorities said in a press conference Thursday night. About 60 homes were affected, 22 of which suffered major structural damage.
Pelham Fire Chief Mike Reid said crews are still in the evaluation and damage assessment stage as they try to determine the total amount of damage cause to the area.
Authorities say all roadways are cleared at this time but are asking everyone to stay out of the area so first responders and cleanup crews can do their job.
Pelham officials who conducted two searches in the area said no one was injured, despite the devastation. At least 200 local residents took cover in Pelham Middle School, which opened as a storm shelter earlier in the day.
According to Pelham City Manager Gretchen Difante, the city has already formed a cleanup plan and does not need any volunteers or outside assistance. She said churches, including the Church of the Highlands, have taken the lead on organizing the relief effort. Cleanup will start tomorrow, as more storms are anticipated Thursday night.
“We are grateful of all the damage done, nobody was hurt,” Difante said during the news conference.
Pelham Police Chief Pat Cheatwood urged residents to watch out for looting and suspicious activity over the next few days. The city has issued a 10 p.m. curfew. for Thursday.
“When you drive through these areas, it’s very devastating; it broke my heart,” Cheatwood lamented during the press conference. “Please continue to keep our city and residents in your thoughts and prayers.”