Crash During Storm Kills 9 Children

Alabama's death toll since Tropical Storm Claudette hit reaches 12
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 20, 2021 11:40 AM CDT
9 Children Killed in Accident After Tropical Storm Hits
Danny Gonzales, right, stands in front of his flooded house with his neighbor Bob Neal, after Tropical Storm Claudette passed through Slidell, La.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Tropical Depression Claudette claimed 12 lives in Alabama as the storm swept across the southeastern US, causing flash flooding and spurring tornadoes that destroyed dozens of homes. Nine children and an adult were killed Saturday in a two-vehicle crash on Interstate 65, the AP reports. Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock said the vehicles likely hydroplaned on wet roads. The sheriff said multiple people were also injured. The children, age 4 to 17, were not immediately identified. Eight were in a vehicle from the Tallapoosa County Girls Ranch, which gives neglected or abused school-age children a home, per CNN. Rescue crews pulled the driver out but couldn't reach the children in the burning vehicle. A 29-year-old man and his 9-month-old daughter in another vehicle also were killed. The head of the nonprofit that runs the ranch called the deaths "a horrible tragedy and loss."

Just outside the Tuscaloosa city limits, a 24-year-old man and a 3-year-old boy were killed when a tree fell on their house Saturday. The deaths occurred as drenching rains pelted much of northern Alabama and Georgia. As much as 12 inches of rain was reported along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. A tropical storm warning was in effect in North Carolina from the Little River Inlet to the town of Duck on the Outer Banks. A tropical storm watch was issued South Santee River, South Carolina, to the Little River Inlet. National Hurricane Center forecasters predicted Claudette would strengthen back to tropical storm status Monday over eastern North Carolina as it goes out to sea. Flash flood watches on Sunday were posted for northern Georgia, most of South Carolina, the North Carolina coast, and parts of southeast Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The system was about 25 miles west of Atlanta, moving east-northeast at 13mph, the National Hurricane Center said Sunday. Shortly after Claudette's landfall Saturday, a suspected tornado spurred by the storm demolished or badly damaged at least 50 homes in a small town in Alabama, just north of the Florida border. "It kind of affected everybody," the sheriff said.

(More tropical storms stories.)

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