U. of Alabama Closes In Wake of Tornado

ALABAMA — A mile-wide, F5 tornado that struck the southern United States on Wednesday has killed at least 37 people in the city of Tuscaloosa. The tornado, which was possibly the largest to ever hit the state, has led the University of Alabama to cancel classes and suspend normal operations through this Friday.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox said the storm cut a seven-mile path through the city, Reuters reports.  Large parts of the city were left without power and businesses were closed on Thursday. Students of the University of Alabama were seen carrying what was left of their belongings in bags and suitcases.

Related Article: What to Do When Severe Storms Strike

The university’s Student Recreation Center has been made available to students whose off-campus residences were damaged in the storm, according to an announcement on the university Web site. Students have been given the option of accepting their existing grades as of April 27. Water use on the campus has also been restricted.

The Cullman Regional Medical Center was not directly hit by the tornado, but it is operating on emergency power, The Birmingham News reports. Lindsey Dossey, public relations director of the hospital, told the news source that the facility is not expected to move any patients out.

Outpatient and elective procedures taking place today have been canceled, according to the medical center’s Web site.

So far, there have been at least 280 deaths in six states resulting from the severe weather outbreak.

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