700 evacuate into old Capitol building
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Torrential rains and flooding likely killed one person Thursday in central Alabama, and lawmakers had to evacuate the statehouse after the basement filled with four feet of water and collapsed a wall.
Some 700 people had to evacuate, and legislators continued their work at the old Capitol building across the street – where Jefferson Davis was once sworn in as president of the Confederacy. They had to make due without computers and other modern conveniences, including air conditioning, in the building that now serves as a museum. Regular business hadn’t been conducted there in more than 20 years.
Weather officials also confirmed that a Wednesday tornado caused damage across two counties in north Alabama. Michael Coyne of the weather service office in Huntsville said the tornado left a path of destruction nearly 11 miles long that was up to 75 yards wide in places.
More than 100 homes and businesses were damaged in the South on Wednesday by strong winds, heavy rains and golf ball-size hail. Strong winds damaged homes in Arkansas and North Carolina, and debris blocked roads and damaged houses in north Mississippi. No serious injuries were reported.
Officials also increased the flow of water through dams to ease swollen rivers, including the Mississippi.