Arab, AL Tornado Destruction, Feb 1995
TORNADO KILLS 3, INJURES MORE THAN 100 IN ALABAMA.
Arab, Ala. (AP) - A tornado ripped across northern Alabama before dawn Thursday, killing at least three people and injuring more than 100.
The dead included a 4-year-old girl, the coroner said.
About an hour before the tornado hit, lightning struck the office of the National Weather Service in Huntsville. The service's Birmingham office was able to issue a warning at 5 a.m., minutes before the twister raced through Arab, but police didn't have time to warn everyone.
"Normally they give us a siren warning, but they didn't this morning. There was nothing," Arab resident Karen Berry said.
There was just the howl of the wind in the dark - sending debris smashing through windows, tearing off roofs, pulling trees from the soil and demolishing trailers, homes and lives.
No Delay In Warning.
When the Huntsville weather service office went down, Birmingham took over watching the radar and the weather service said there was no delay in picking up the tornado and issuing a warning.
Police got the warning through deputies in a nearby county and were sending out siren vehicles to alert residents when the tornado hit, Lt. Danny Harvell said.
In the aftermath, rescue crews searched for people possibly trapped in the wreckage, rain pounded flattened barns, pink insulation dripped from trees and yet more wind shook cars creeping over littered roads.
Teams looking for more victims in the rubble found a baby unharmed beneath two wrecked trailers.
"We found a 1-year-old baby under two trailers. He was sitting there, not making a sound," firefighter Robert Reynolds said.
The last deadly funnel cloud that struck Alabama hit on Palm Sunday a year ago, killing 22 people, most in a church about 60 miles from Arab.
In Washington, Sen. Howell Heflin, D-Ala., called for a complete accounting from the weather service.
North Hills News Record Pennsylvania