Strong storms overturn train cars in southeast Alabama, down trees in several communities



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MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Powerful storms overturned train cars in southeast Alabama, and also downed trees and flooded roads in communities across the state.

The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for part of Henry County in southeast Alabama Sunday morning. After that storm rolled through, a state trooper reported several train cars knocked from their tracks and overturned outside Abbeville.

The area where the train cars overturned appears to the site of the most damage in that area, Henry County Emergency Manager Ronnie Dollar said.

"I can't at this point say for sure we've had a tornado, but it certainly looks like we have," Dollar told The Associated Press early Sunday afternoon.

Tornadoes are typically confirmed by the National Weather Service after crews survey damage.

The storm also knocked out phone service in the Abbeville area, and authorities were working to restore phone service to the 911 center, Dollar said.

In Leesburg, northeast of Gadsden, another emergency manager reported damage to a house and barn and several trees down.

In Fort Mitchell, just west of the Alabama-Georgia line south of Columbus, Georgia, a storm damaged a shopping center and sent employees seeking shelter inside a walk-in cooler.

"We went into the cooler and heard a loud boom," Maria Borja, the assistant manager of the shopping center, told The Columbus Ledger-Enquire. "I thought the whole building was coming down."

When they left the cooler, the found a large section of the roof was gone, they told the Columbus newspaper. Rain was pouring into the store.

Not far from the shopping center, about four or five houses were seriously damaged in the Village at Westgate subdivision, said Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor. Several more had shingles ripped from roofs, pieces of siding were on the ground and window shutters were missing, the Columbus newspaper reported.

At the height of the storms Sunday morning, a tornado watch included more than 20 counties.

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