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Tornado kills teen, causes significant damage in Alabama

By Ryan Adamson, Accuweather.com

A large and dangerous tornado struck a northern suburb of Birmingham, Ala., late Monday, killing one and leaving a path of damage with reports of injuries.

The twister was reported in the town of in Fultondale around 10:30 p.m. Monday and unleashed extensive damage throughout Jefferson County.

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As of 6:30 a.m. CST, one death from the twister has been confirmed by Fultondale Fire Chief Justin McKenzie, according to CBS News. The death was of a young man, believed to be a teenager, who was trapped in his basement with his family after a tree fell on their home.

Other members of the victim's family suffered severe injuries.

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Multiple other reports of injuries and people trapped emerged throughout the night.

The tornado was spawned by a thunderstorm around 10:45 p.m. CST, knocking over street signs and utility poles and damaging buildings. The National Weather Service office in Birmingham issued a tornado warning for the thunderstorm, saying a "confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado" was on the ground and heading toward Fultondale.

A radar image from 10:45 p.m. CST Monday shows the thunderstorm that produced a damaging tornado over Fultondale, Ala. Image courtesy of AccuWeather
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On radar, a debris signature was seen, confirming damage that was taking place. A debris signature occurs when items such as trees, parts of buildings and other objects are thrown high into the atmosphere by the tornado. This is a clear sign to meteorologists that a tornado is causing damage.

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Shortly after passing through Fultondale, the storm weakened and the debris signature was no longer seen.

Luckily for cleanup efforts, mild and dry weather is expected for Tuesday and Wednesday. That said, additional storms containing heavy rain and gusty winds late Monday night affected cleanup efforts after the tornadic storm tore though Fultondale. Once the dry weather arrives, it is forecast to continue through at least Friday.

The Jefferson County EMA advised people to stay out of the area.

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"PLEASE stay out of the Fultondale area. This includes but isn't limited to Carson Road, Black Creek Road, Pine Hill Road and New Castle Road. On top of the road dangers such as power lines and debris...traffic is clogging the roads. Once again, PLEASE stay out of the area."

However, colder air will move in by Wednesday night and temperatures are expected to fall below freezing on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Therefore, anyone without power who is unable to heat their home may want to find a place to stay on those nights. This may be difficult in some circumstances given the ongoing pandemic.

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