No severe weather alerts had been issued for Calhoun County as of 2 p.m. Thursday, but Mary Keiser, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Calera said there have been reports of isolated storms throughout the eastern portion of the state. Thunderstorms are expected to pass through Calhoun County sometime this evening, but the risk of severe weather is “slight,” Keiser said.
“Things didn’t heat up as quickly this morning which was helpful,” Keiser said. “But there’s still a chance for isolated storms to pop up.”
Keiser said the weather should clear up by midnight. She said forecasters expect sunshine for Friday.
A tornado watch was issued earlier in Pickens County, where there was minimal damage, Keiser said. Most of the western half of Alabama was under a severe thunderstorm warning as of 2 p.m.
Officials said trees and power lines were down near the Mississippi line in Pickens County, but no injuries had been reported.
An apparent tornado hit eastern Mississippi this afternoon, killing at least one person and causing widespread damage, officials said.
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said one person died in Kemper County. The tornado hit there and in Noxubee County before moving into Alabama, Flynn said.
In anticipation of severe weather Calhoun, Cleburne and Randolph County schools, along with schools in Anniston, Jacksonville, Oxford and Piedmont, closed early today. Jacksonville State University and Gadsden State Community College canceled classes this afternoon.
About 50 school systems in central and north Alabama dismissed classes early as a precaution, and dozens of private schools did the same thing. A few government offices and businesses also closed early.
Forecasters say the storms bring a risk of tornadoes, flooding and damaging winds, particularly in central Alabama.
The leading edge of storm began moving into Alabama's northwestern corner around lunchtime, and forecasters say severe weather is possible through nightfall.
Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.