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Storms bring heavy rains, damage to Alabama

OAKMAN — An apparent tornado ripped off part of the roof of an elementary school in Oakman early Wednesday as fierce overnight storms dumped heavy rains on Alabama and caused scattered damage over a wide area.

No injuries were reported, but the National Weather Service issued flash flood warnings for nine counties in the Tennessee Valley after some communities received as much as 6 inches of rain. Many areas received at least 3 inches of rain.

A suspected twister hit the town of Oakman, northwest of Birmingham in Walker County, about 1:30 a.m. Emergency management director Johnny Burnette said the elementary school was heavily damaged, along with as many as 18 nearby homes.

He said the town’s high school is located on the same property but wasn’t badly damaged.

High winds also peeled the shingles off houses in the St. Clair County town of Moody and officials said a church was damaged.

Minor storm damage is reported near Scottsboro where winds destroyed several farm buildings and knocked down trees.

Temperatures are expected turn colder through the day, which a chance of wintry precipitation on Thursday. But forecasters said there was little chance for accumulation.