UPDATE: At least 2 killed by suspected tornadoes as storms rake Deep South

Suspected tornadoes killed at least two people as severe weather blasted a wide area across the Deep South, officials said.

Jerry Oliver Williams, 61, of Henry County died when the storm struck a rural area about 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Coroner Derek Wright said Monday.

The area was under a tornado warning when winds flipped the home Williams shared with his wife and child, Wright said.

Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.

Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.

“He was in a mobile home, and the mobile home was destroyed by a tornado. He was in the wreckage of the mobile home. His wife and child were with him, and they were OK,” Wright said.

A suspected twister also resulted in one death in Marion County, Mississippi, said Coroner Jessie Graham. Jerry Johnson, 70, died when his home took a “direct hit” from the storm in the Sandy Hook community, Graham said.

The National Weather Service said it had received reports of large hail and broken power poles in the area, and emergency management officials said 20 homes were damaged.

The deaths came as firefighters worked through storms to contain a blaze at the main music building at the University of Alabama, about 200 miles northwest in Tuscaloosa. Authorities haven’t determined the cause of the fire, but it happened while strong storms with lightning were in the area.

Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.

Credit: Gary Cosby Jr.

Firefighters saved most of the instruments and uniforms belonging to Alabama’s “Million Dollar Band,” Mayor Walt Maddox said in a tweet.


Rainfall totals in excess of 2 inches were widespread, and isolated spots in central Alabama received more than 8 inches of rain in a day, the weather service said.

More than 35,000 homes and businesses in Alabama and Mississippi were still without power around noontime Monday.

The Storm Prediction Center received more than 250 reports of possible tornadoes, high winds, hail and storm damage from east Texas to South Georgia on Sunday. Teams from the National Weather Service will assess tracks to determine where tornadoes struck.

»PHOTOS: Storms rip through Deep South on Easter Sunday

The storms hit a week after a two-day outbreak of more than 100 tornadoes that began Easter Sunday killed at least 36 people across the region.