Tropical storm Claudette: 10 children killed in Alabama multi-vehicle crash

Tropical storm Claudette: 10 children killed in Alabama multi-vehicle crash
The aftermath of Tropical Storm Claudette and a tornado spotted near Pella, Iowa (Twitter/Hale/ Landon Moeller)

Tropical Depression Claudette wreaked havoc through South-Eastern US claiming as many as 12 lives. The casualties included nine children and resulted from a horrific multi-vehicle crash, around 35 miles south of Montgomery. According to coroner Wayne Garlock from Butler County, 10 people died after 15 vehicles collided with each other on Interstate 65.

Meanwhile, a 3-year-old toddler and a man of 24 years were found dead after a tree fell on their house in Tuscaloosa. All the deaths took place on Saturday, June 19, after the storm brought flash floods and cyclonic winds in Alabama and Georgia. Now, another tornado has reportedly been spotted building up near the city of Pella in Iowa. 


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According to Al Jazeera, the tragic crash near Interstate 65 happened after a series of cars hydroplaned on wet roads. Eight children, aged between 4 and 17 years, were traveling at the time in a van from Alabama Sheriffs Association. They hailed from a youth ranch for abused or overlooked children and were returning from a week at Gulf Shores beach. They were tragically killed in the massive 15-vehicle crash. 

In another car, 29-year-old Cody Fox and his 9-month-old baby lost their lives. The deaths in Tuscaloosa from the uprooted tree happened on June 21 but the medical examiner could not reach the spot until the next day. Police captain Marty Sellers from Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit revealed that they could not identify the victims at first due to the horrific nature of the accident.

Meanwhile, more than 20 lives were saved as affected people were rescued by boats after flooding in Northport, Alabama. Claudette reportedly pelted around 12 inches of rain along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and created substantial damage to properties. A tornado spurred by the storm damaged over 50 homes and public places in the towns of Brewton and East Brewton in Florida.

Following the tropical storm, weather forecasters have warned about an imminent storm in North Carolina in Duck, Outer Banks, and another tropical storm in South Santee River, South Carolina. 

Meanwhile, another tornado was spotted by residents near the city of Pella in Iowa. Though it appeared to be weakened after a while, people are still staying alert in case of a sudden relapse of the tornado. 

National Weather Service Raleigh shared the latest update on Claudette, tweeting, "8:45 PM radar update: The center of Tropical Depression Claudette is currently in northern SC, with a band of showers and storms ahead of the center moving north into the Sandhills. Heavy rain, lightning, and gusty winds are possible with this band as it moves through. #ncwx."


People took to social media to share photographs and updates about the damage from Claudette or the tornado near Pella. "So uh, apparently I slept through Tropical Storm Claudette?? The water almost reached our house and there was a tornado warning right on top of us??" a user posted along with photos of flooded lands, presumably near their home. "The last #sunrise of #spring 2021 over the Shenandoah Valley. Thanks to Penny Edwards of Mount Crawford in southern Rockingham County, VA for this spectacular shot! Those high level clouds were the outer reaches of Tropical Depression #Claudette. #SummerSolstice," shared meteorologist Josh Fitzpatrick.



A user shared the latest update on the tornado near Pella. "Looks like the tornado west of Pella was on the ground for some time. Pella Cooperative Electric trucks were working to restore power. This is at the end of 198th Avenue north of Highway 163. #iawx," they tweeted. Another local resident shared, "Pella Iowa tornado just a little bit ago. Very scary seeing a town in front of a tornado!!! #IAWX #tornado #pella."



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