“Are we think­ing the Lord is try­ing to get our at­ten­tion?”

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Jay Reeves

birm­ing­ham, ala.» Ap­par­ent tor­na­does that dropped out of the night sky killed five peo­ple in two states and in­jured at least a dozen early Wed­nes­day, adding to a seem­ingly bib­li­cal on­slaught of drought, flood and fire plagu­ing the South.

In Alabama, the weather sys­tem dumped more than 2 inches of rain in ar­eas that had been parched by months of drought.

High winds dam­aged homes, splin­tered barns and top­pled trees in parts of Mis­sis­sippi, Ten­nessee and Alabama. Tomb­stones were even knocked over in the ceme­tery be­hind the badly dam­aged Ros­alie Bap­tist Church, near where three peo­ple died in north­east­ern Alabama.

“It looks like the rap­ture hap­pened up there,” said church mem­ber Steve Hall, re­fer­ring to the end-times be­lief of many Chris­tians.

“Are we think­ing the Lord is try­ing to get our at­ten­tion?” said the pas­tor, Roger Lit­tle.

The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice was as­sess­ing dam­age from pos­si­ble tor­na­does across the re­gion.

A twis­ter was con­firmed on the ground a few miles from At­lanta on Wed­nes­day, but there were no im­me­di­ate dam­age re­ports as the vast storm sys­tem sent sheets of rain across that city.

Three peo­ple were killed and one per­son crit­i­cally in­jured in a mo­bile home after an ap­par­ent twis­ter hit tiny Ros­alie, about 115 miles north­east of Birm­ing­ham, said Jack­son County Chief Deputy Rocky Har­nen.

A sus­pected tor­nado was re­spon­si­ble for the death of a hus­band and wife in south­ern Ten­nessee’s Polk County, while an un­known num­ber of oth­ers were in­jured, said Ten­nessee Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency spokesman Dean Flener. No de­tails were im­me­di­ately avail­able.

The same storm ap­par­ently hit a closed day care cen­ter in the com­mu­nity of Ider, in­jur­ing seven peo­ple, in­clud­ing three chil­dren who had left their mo­bile home to seek shel­ter, said An­thony Clifton, DeKalb County emer­gency man­age­ment direc­tor.

Alabama Gov. Robert Bent­ley is­sued a state of emer­gency be­cause of the storms.

Mean­while, thou­sands of peo­ple were with­out power, in­clud­ing up to 45,000 homes at one point in Alabama. Many schools dis­missed early in Alabama and Ge­or­gia to avoid hav­ing stu­dents on the road in buses as storms con­tin­ued to roll across the re­gion Wed­nes­day.

Teams from the Na­tional Weather Ser­vice con­firmed that at least two weak tor­na­does struck west­ern Alabama, and me­te­o­rol­o­gist Kurt We­ber from Huntsville said they were as­sess­ing dam­age tracks from at least four other pos­si­ble tor­na­does.

Tor­na­does and hail also were re­ported Tues­day in Louisiana and Mis­sis­sippi. The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice in Jack­son, Miss., counted six con­firmed tor­na­does in ar­eas of the state it mon­i­tors.

De­spite dozens of tor­nado warn­ings, au­thor­i­ties said no one was in­jured in Mis­sis­sippi, but six homes were re­ported de­stroyed in one south­east­ern county.

Brynn An­der­son, The As­so­ci­ated Press

drought. An aban­doned boat sits in the re­mains of a dried­out pond in Daw­son, Ala., last month.

tor­nado. Bob Wright looks for be­long­ings after a tor­nado ripped through Ros­alie, Ala., killing three of his brother’s fam­ily mem­bers. Butch Dill, The As­so­ci­ated Press

flood. Yaneisy Due­nas, left, and Ferando Sanudo walk through the flooded park­ing lot to their boat this month in North Mi­ami, Fla. Joe Raedle, Getty Im­ages

fire. The re­mains of a home smol­der in the wake of a wild­fire in Gatlin­burg, Tenn. Thou­sands of peo­ple were evac­u­ated. Brian Blanco, Getty Im­ages

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