Mother and son dead after EF-2 tornado hits Montgomery

An early Wednesday morning tornado killed two people just north of Montgomery. Authorities said the victims, a 39-year-old woman and 8-year-old boy, were mother and son. The boy's father was taken to the hospital, authorities said.

The National Weather Service Office in Birmingham classified the storm as an EF-2 tornado with winds estimated at 115 miles per hour. NWS said the tornado touched down about 3 a.m.

Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Christina Thornton said heavy rescue efforts are going on in the area and portions of Lower Wetumpka Road are closed to U.S. 231.

Several homes and other buildings have received "substantial" damage, she said. Residents in the Flatwood community reported losing roofs, patios and shingles on their homes.

“We really need a lot of help down here," one resident said.

The storm also caused widespread damage in south Elmore County along Rifle Range Road and in the Redland area, said Keith Barnett, Elmore County EMA director.

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Wednesday, 1:15 p.m.: NWS upgrades storm classification to EF-2

New information gathered in the Flatwood community in Montgomery County as part of a preliminary storm survey led the National Weather Service Office in Birmingham Wednesday afternoon to upgrade the tornado's ranking to EF-2 with winds reaching 115 miles per hour. NWS previously classified the storm as an EF-1.

EF-2 tornadoes cause "considerable damage" capable of tearing roofs from frame houses, demolishing mobiles homes and uprooting large trees, according to NWS.

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Wednesday, 1:09 p.m.: Gov. Kay Ivey offers condolences to victims

Gov. Kay Ivey in a Tweet Wednesday afternoon shared her condolences with the family of the tornado's victims and the Flatwood community where much of the storm's impact was felt. The tornado claimed the lives of a mother and son as a tree fell on their home.

Ivey said she was "heartbroken" and praying for the victims' family, the Flatwood community and those across Alabama affected by the storms.

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Wednesday, 11:14 a.m.: Flatwood community feels impact of tornado

The Flatwood community, which felt the brunt of the EF-1 tornado that hit Montgomery and Elmore counties early Wednesday, picked up the pieces after the devastating storm. Residents described the tornado as sounding "like a locomotive" as it approached the area.

“It did a lot of damage to the neighborhood," said Doris Shuler, a resident of Williams Drive in the Flatwood community.

Residents reported losing patios, roofs and shingles on their homes throughout the area. The Flatwood Community Center was destroyed in the storm.

“We just never seen this much damage, with the lives that have been lost too," Doris Shuler said.

Read more about the impact of the storm on the Flatwood community here.

Wednesday, 11:14 a.m.: Severe damage to power infrastructure across central Alabama

Alabama Power officials said service had been restored to about 88% of customers across central Alabama by 11 a.m., but damage to the power infrastructure here was "severe."

The company had reports of more than 30 broken poles, 40 fallen spans of wire and 15 damaged transformers in the wake of overnight storms in central Alabama. Three transmission structures had also been damaged.

About 4,200 Alabama Power customers lost power as the storms blew through. The company said repair work is ongoing and that local crews are now being assisted by workers from other areas. About 290 Montgomery customers and 160 Wilcox County customers were still without power by 10:30 a.m.

The company estimated that all power would be restored to the hardest hit areas of Camden by 2 p.m. and Montgomery by 10 p.m. Wednesday night.

Wednesday, 10:40 a.m.: Preliminary storm survey classes tornado EF-1

The National Weather Service Office in Birmingham said a preliminary storm survey showed an EF-1 tornado with winds up to 110 miles per hour damaged the Flatwood community in Montgomery County. NWS characterizes EF-1 tornadoes as causing moderate damage capable of peeling off roofs and overturning mobile homes and cars.

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Wednesday, 10:35 a.m.: Authorities say fallen tree caused fatalities

Emergency responders from Montgomery Fire Rescue helped remove a tree that had fallen on a home in the Flatwood community in north Montgomery before rescuing a father and recovering two victims who were part of the same family, MFR Chief of Special Operations Sam Castanza said. Other authorities confirmed the victims were mother and son.

“We had a massive tree that fell on the home,” Castanza said.

Montgomery County Sheriff Derrick Cunningham later confirmed that the mother and son were killed by the fallen tree.

The city had authorized crews to go into an unincorporated area of the county and help with rescue efforts. Montgomery County Commissioner Isaiah Sankey, whose district includes the Flatwood area where the family lived, pledged help for the family going forward.

“This is a sad day for Montgomery County as a whole and for the Flatwood community,” Sankey said.

Cunningham asked people to avoid the area as rescue workers continue to go door to door.

“We’re going to continue to do that until we make sure everyone is accounted for,” Cunningham said. “… We’ll be down here for the duration of the day, and probably tomorrow, and probably the next day.”

Damage from a possible tornado on Williams Drive in the Flatwood neighborhood in Montgomery, Ala., on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022.
Damage from a possible tornado on Williams Drive in the Flatwood neighborhood in Montgomery, Ala., on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022.

Wednesday, 8:56 a.m.: Authorities confirm storm victims were mother and son

Capt. Josh Douglass with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office confirmed that the two fatalities in the storm — a 39-year-old woman and 8-year-old boy — were mother and son. First responders also took a man who lived in the same residence as the 39-year-old woman and 8-year-old boy to the hospital. Authorities confirmed he was the father of the 8-year-old boy who died.

The tornado touched down in the 300 block of Williams Drive in the Flatwood community.

Wednesday, 8:31 a.m.: Storm originated in Mississippi

The supercell thunderstorm that spawned the storm that caused damage in Montgomery and Elmore counties originally formed over Hattiesburg, Mississippi and caused damage along its path across Alabama.

Wednesday, 8:31 a.m.: No injuries reported in Autauga, Elmore counties

Local tornado warnings went out beginning about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday with Dallas, Autauga and Lowndes counties going under a warning. The storm passed over Autaugaville and Prattville according to its radar track.

There were no reports of injuries in Autauga County, according to the Autauga County EMA. There was one report of a rotten tree falling blocking a portion of Upper Kingston Road, said Ernie Baggett, director of the Autauga EMA.

The warnings then went out for Elmore and Montgomery counties.

In Elmore County the storm apparently skipped across the county, touching down in two locations. It first struck south of Wetumpka along Rifle Range Road and in the Redland area. It then left the ground and struck again south of Tallassee. There were no injuries reported for Elmore County. There was wide spread damage caused by downed trees, said Keith Barnett, director of the Elmore County EMA.

A large tree is seen down near a house on Lower Wetumpka Road near the scene of overnight fatal storms in Montgomery, Ala., on Wednesday morning November 30, 2022.
A large tree is seen down near a house on Lower Wetumpka Road near the scene of overnight fatal storms in Montgomery, Ala., on Wednesday morning November 30, 2022.

Wednesday, 8:07 a.m.: Details emerge about storm fatalities

At approximately 3:30 a.m., a significant weather event killed a 39-year-old woman and an 8-year-old boy at the same residence, Capt. Joshua Douglass with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office said. Deacon Clarence Shuler confirmed the woman and boy were members of the same family.

The possible tornado touched down in the 300 block of Williams Drive in the Flatwood Community.

First responders also took a man who lived in the same residence as the 39-year-old woman and 8-year-old boy to the hospital.

Douglass said that the county is working with the city, state and multiple volunteer fire departments.

He expects traffic to be delayed for several hours.

Wednesday, 8:07 a.m.: Shelter open at Union Academy Baptist Church

Law enforcement encouraged people who have been impacted by the possible tornado to go to Union Academy Baptist Church at 4748 Lower Wetumpka Rd. It is open as a shelter to the community.

Wednesday, 7:50 a.m.: Schools announce schedule changes

Some local school districts are changing their schedules Wednesday after the early-morning storms. Opelika City Schools in Lee County are delayed two hours. Macon County Schools are having a virtual day on Wednesday. The announcement was made Tuesday night in anticipation of the severe weather.

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Autauga County Schools and Elmore County Schools both confirmed all schools in the districts are running on a normal schedule.

Wednesday, 7:30 a.m.: Mayor Steven Reed authorizes city first-responders

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This is a breaking story. Check back for details.

Contact Montgomery Advertiser reporter Marty Roney at mroney@gannett.com.

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Two dead in tornado north of Montgomery on Lower Wetumpka Road