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Twister hits Alabama sewage plant; chlorine spilled
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (CNN) -- A tornado spawned by thunderstorms blew apart a water treatment plant south of Birmingham on Monday, spilling chlorine into nearby areas, authorities said.
Trees were uprooted, and widespread flooding stranded motorists on highways and low-lying roads. Rescue operations were under way.
There were no immediate reports of injuries or fatalities from the twister.
Allen Kinphfer, a spokesman for Jefferson County Emergency Management, said the tornado hit the plant about 2 p.m.
"It blew away part of the building," Kinphfer said.
Hazardous materials teams were working to clean up the chlorine spill in Mountain Brook, just southeast of Birmingham. Kinphfer said the region has been hit with about 6 inches of rain, diluting much of the spilled chlorine.
He said there have been two reports of tornado touchdowns in the county, but officials have yet to determine if they were the same twister.
"We've got more than 100 trees down," Kinphfer said. "We're doing major cleanup. We've got major flooding throughout the county."
A section of U.S. Highway 280, one of the main roads in and out of Birmingham, was restricted to one-lane traffic in both directions while crews worked to clear debris.
Storms leave 1 dead
A line of fast-moving storms swept over central Alabama and moved east-southeast toward Georgia. The storms caused damage throughout parts of eastern Alabama and western Mississippi overnight.
One resident of Piedmont, Alabama, died after a storm ripped through a mobile home park in the town near the Alabama-Georgia state line. At least five homes were destroyed.
"We're very fortunate that we didn't have more damage than we did," Alabama Emergency Management Agency spokesman Scott Addock said. "It was a large storm, and it could have been much worse."
"Fairly widespread storm damage" was reported Monday in Georgia's Polk County, said state Emergency Management Agency spokesman Buzz Weiss. About 15 buildings were damaged, and six people were taken to hospitals for treatment.
In Cherokee County, Georgia, Weiss said more than 30 homes were damaged, including the home of Larry Bobo, which was hit by a falling oak.
"If ... this had been a few feet over, it could have taken the entire house down," Bobo said.
The storms are expected to hit parts of Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina -- as well as southern portions of Virginia, possibly early Tuesday.
Many of the thunderstorms are capable of producing tornadoes, golf-ball-size hail and wind gusts greater than 70 mph, the National Weather Service said.
Reuters contributed to this report.
One dead; dozens evacuated after strong storms pound central Alabama
National Weather Service
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