Claudette Heads to Sea Leaving Wake of Damage Across Southeast

By and | June 23, 2021

Claudette regained tropical storm status and headed out to sea from the North Carolina coast Monday, less than two days after the system killed 14 people in Alabama, including nine children who died in a highway crash.

Eight of the children who died Saturday were in a van for a home for abused or neglected children when it erupted in flames in the wreck along a wet Interstate 65 about 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of Montgomery. Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock said multiple vehicles probably hydroplaned.

The crash also claimed the lives of two people in another vehicle a 29-year-old Tennessee man and his 9-month-old daughter. Other people were injured.

Elsewhere, a 24-year-old man and a 3-year-old boy were killed Saturday when a tree fell on their house just outside Tuscaloosa, and a 23-year-old Fort Payne woman died after her car ran off the road into a swollen creek, authorities said.

News outlets reported that search dogs located the body of a man believed to have fallen into the water during flash flooding in Birmingham.

By Monday morning, Claudette had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph). The storm was about 90 miles (145 kilometers) south of Ocean City, Maryland, and moving east-northeast at 28 mph (45 kph), the National Hurricane Center said.

The system was expected to pass near or south of Nova Scotia before dissipating late Tuesday.

About 1 to 2 inches (3 to 5 centimeters) of rain was expected in the Carolinas before Claudette moved out to sea.

The storm demolished or badly damaged at least 50 homes in East Brewton, Alabama, according to early reports. Winds topped at 127 mph (204 kph) and the storm stayed on the ground for 22 miles across southwest Alabama.

The system tore through other regions of the southeast, spawning tornadoes and high winds.

Three small twisters hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast, causing damage to cars, homes and apartment buildings in the towns of Long Beach, Pass Christian and Hurley.

A confirmed tornado touched down in southwest Georgia with winds reaching 100 mph (160 kph). Minor structure damage was reported across U.S. 82.

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