Alabama - Residents throughout the South are reeling after severe weather and tornadoes ripped across the region, killing at least five people and leaving behind widespread destruction.
Dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed completely.
As of Friday morning, officials in Pelham, Alabama, said that building inspectors were doing damage assessments and debris removal teams were out clearing the roadways.
"Our folks have worked tirelessly throughout the night," Pat Cheatwood, the police chief of Pelham said of the city’s first responders.
The police chief asked non-residents to stay out of the area.
Calhoun County Emergency Management Agency confirmed at least five deaths in Calhoun County in Alabama Thursday afternoon.
The devastation comes just one week after a significant tornado outbreak in the South spawned numerous violent twisters in multiple states.
NOAA's Storm Prediction Center (SPC) issued a rare "high risk" severe weather forecast for Thursday from northern parts of Mississippi and Alabama into sections of south-central Tennessee."
Widespread tornado damage reported
Severe storms brought damage to Alabama on Thursday, as parts of the state were threatened by long-track tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail.
A tornado caused extensive damage to property, and downed trees and power and telephone lines in Shelby County, Alabama, on March 25, local media reported.
The National Weather Service in Birmingham confirmed the tornado on Thursday.
Police said approximately 30 to 50 homes and structures sustained damage in the county, local media reported.
Footage shared by Konnor Pavey showed destruction along a road on the outskirts of Birmingham. The tornado was one of several reported in Alabama that day.
Meanwhile, a police officer was struck by lightning while putting out barricades at an intersection in Florence, Alabama on Thursday. Other Florence Police Officers provided immediate first aid and transported him to North Alabama Medical Center, where he is being monitored.
According to the Florence Alabama Police Department, he is conscious and responsive at this time.In addition, parts of Cullman County were underwater Thursday morning after severe thunderstorms brought up to 3 inches of rain, the National Weather Service reported.
Video released by the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division showed damage to trees in the Oakmulgee Wildlife Management Area.
It was not confirmed if the damages were caused by a tornado at the time.
Severe storms wreaked havoc in central Alabama, leaving homes destroyed in Centreville as tornado warnings were issued for the region on March 25.
Video - Tornado-Warned Storms Destroy Homes in Centreville, Alabama
Footage uploaded by Brayden Siau shows homes ruined and trees uprooted as emergency sirens blast in the distance.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for the area on Thursday and the Centreville Police Department warned locals to steer clear of affected areas unless they were residents, or were checking on their family.
Video taken by Shaun Burke showed strong waters rushing at Larkwood Falls in Cullman Thursday. "The bridge is about to be underwater," he wrote on Twitter. Photos taken by Burke show the risen Eightmile Creek within inches of the bottom of the bridge crossing over it.A flash flood warning was in effect for Cullman County.
The NWS warned of the possibility of "destructive winds, strong tornadoes, large hail, and flash flooding" across the region.
Video filmed by Twitter user @maritza_reigns showed damage from a possible tornado in her backyard on Thursday afternoon.
A long-lived supercell continued to produce tornadoes in northern Alabama as of 3 p.m. local time, the National Weather Service reported.
Video shared by Rebecca Latham showed lightning flashes and thunder as hail fell on a backyard in Fort Payne.
"A myriad of weather hazards; both severe and rainfall, are a recipe for a dangerous weather setup in the Mid-South on Thursday," the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) wrote in its forecast discussion.
A violent start to tornado season
While tornado season typically runs from March through June, it has been off to an active start.
Last week, tornadoes knocked down trees, toppled power lines and damaged homes in several communities. More than 70,000 homes and businesses were without power from Texas to Alabama.
The National Weather Service warned people in the Demopolis area of Alabama to take cover as a storm moved through on March 17, bringing a tornado threat.
"It is difficult to predict how an entire season will play out just based on early season activity, but we are entering the time of year when severe thunderstorms and tornadoes most often occur," Bunting wrote."Regardless of whether the season is above or below normal, everyone needs to prepare for the possibility of severe storms now, and make sure you have multiple ways of receiving life-saving severe storm warnings. It only takes one storm to make it a bad year if it affects you!"