1 dead as severe storms pelt the South
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Lines of powerful thunderstorms pelted the South with heavy wind, rain and hail Wednesday, turning a skating rink into a hulk of twisted metal soon after the 31 preschoolers and four adults inside had fled to the only part of the building that turned out to be safe.
One child suffered a broken bone and another a cut to the head, but everyone else emerged unharmed from the crumpled wreck of the Fun Zone Skate Center, which doubled as a day care facility.
"I'm amazed that anyone got out of there," said Montgomery Mayor Bobby Bright.
Several states were battered by the storms, which unleashed tornadoes and straight-line winds that overturned mobile homes and tractor-trailers, uprooted trees and knocked down power lines. At least one person was killed and several injured.
Authorities were unsure whether it was a tornado that hit the skate center about 10:15 a.m.
"What I saw was just utter destruction," said Slaughter. "The children were scared, they were cold and dirty. They were crying and upset, but really they were calmer than I thought they would be."
The manager of the day care center operating inside the building had made everyone get into the section of the building that survived the high winds.
"She may have saved many of these children's lives," the mayor said.
The damage was so severe some witnesses were in disbelief that everyone inside could have walked out. Two people crawled under the beams and wreckage looking for kids, but everyone was already out.
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