Rescue workers were laboring through damaged areas Tuesday night after a tornado-laden storm system ripped across Colbert County and other areas of northwest Alabama.
Initial reports indicated nobody in the county was injured and damage mainly was in sparsely populated areas, authorities said.
The system appeared to travel across the southern half of the county.
Michael David Smith, director of the Colbert County Emergency Management Agency, said early reports included a few structures with minor damage, mainly in the southwestern part of the county.
"The only damage we know of for sure is in the Maud and Mynot communities," Smith said. "There is a large path of vegetative damage and trees blown down, and luckily there are no injuries."
Numerous tornado warnings were issued in north Alabama as the storm entered the state after causing heavy damage in bordering Tishomingo County, Mississippi, and churned eastward. It entered Colbert and Franklin counties at approximately 5:30 p.m.
Tornado warnings also stretched down into Marion and Winston counties.
"It came out of Tishomingo County and across Allsboro, Maud and Mynot, went over (Alabama) 247 and crossed into Colbert Heights and further east," Smith said.
He said volunteer firefighters set up a command post on Maud Road, and Smith and other EMA officials were on their way there to assist and conduct preliminary damage assessments.
The weather service issued a tornado watch shortly after 3 p.m. At 5:33 p.m., the weather service issued an alert that "a severe storm that could be producing a tornado" was heading toward southwestern Colbert County. A minute later, a tornado warning was issued.
At 5:36 p.m., the service stated a tornado has been reported on the ground.
The weather service had forecast the possibility of severe storms heading into Tuesday, upgrading that expectation throughout the day to the point where north Alabama was within an enhanced risk area.
Deluges of rainfall fell on and off into the night even after the main system blew through, causing flooding at various areas. The Tennessee River at Florence already was at 19.24 feet early Tuesday evening. That is 1.24 feet above flood stage, according to National Weather Service data. It is expected to crest at over 22 feet by Thursday.
Heading into Tuesday, 26.14 inches of rain had fallen in the Shoals in 2020, according to weather service data. That is 12.95 inches above normal.