ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) – A tornadic system left devastation in Limestone County on Monday, killing two people in a community west of Athens.
Athens Utilities crews are still working to restore power. As of Tuesday afternoon, about 7,500 customers were still without power.
Holly Hollman, Communications Specialist for the City of Athens, said the Poplar Creek Substation west of Athens at the corner of Shaw Road and U.S. 72 sustained extensive damage during yesterday’s storms. Restoration of this service area may take up to two days or longer in areas where there is more considerable damage.
As of mid-day Tuesday, there are still traffic lights out in the city and county. Please slow down and treat all intersections with traffic lights that are out as if it is a four-way stop.
Do not drive into damaged areas. Please keep the roads clear for emergency personnel and utility crews who are trying to get power restored.
There were also more than 100 power poles knocked down along U.S. Highway 72.
In Athens, the Jackson Drive and Crutcher Circle and areas in between sustained heavy damage with poles down and lines in trees. Homes have been damaged in this area, and many trees are down.
Mother, son killed
Sheriff Mike Blakely says a woman and her son died in Billy Barb’s Trailer Park on U.S. 72 in the Coxey community. The Limestone County Coroner’s office identified them as Dorothy Jean Hollis, 60, and Carlton Earl Hollis, 34.
Another death was initially reported at a home on Sledge Road, but Sheriff Blakely said the only confirmed deaths are at the trailer park. There is damage up and down Highway 72 in Limestone County, and a mobile home park was destroyed.
Kelli Powers, CEO of Athens-Limestone Hospital, said less than 20 people were treated for storm-related injuries. Most of those hurt had lacerations.
On Monday night, the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office closed Highway 72 from Blackburn Road to the Elk River at the Limestone/Lauderdale County line, for emergency response purposes. Tuesday morning, two lanes of 72 were reopened.
There are trees blocking many streets in Athens and out in Limestone County and power lines down, especially the Coxey community west of Athens. Crews are still trying to get to damaged areas.
Several streets in Athens are blocked due to downed trees and power lines, including Market Street, Elm Street, Washington Street, Poplar Street, Jackson Drive, Edgewood Road, McClellan Street, Frazier at Walnut, Madison Street, 5th Avenue, Jackson Drive and Hobbs Street at the railroad tracks. Athens Police have a list of blocked roads on the city Website at www.athensal.us. Click on “Police Department” link on the left. Police will try to update this as they can. Click on a road to get more info about debris and the status of it opening.
Don Webster, Director of HEMSI in Huntsville, said his team sent three units to Athens/Limestone Hospital on Monday evening to help with the emergency response effort. HEMSI units were stationed at the hospital in case they need to bring patients to Huntsville Hospital.
There is also heavy damage at Bay Hill Marina Village. The National Weather Service said it appears an EF3 tornado tore through the area.