Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia hit by storms; shelters open and warnings issued

Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate – Four storms, one brutal hurricane ...

Damage is left in the wake of a tornado in Ardmore, Alabama, on Monday.

Johnny Tribble via AP

Severe overnight storms have blown through Alabama, where authorities in Jacksonville say several shelters have opened, local schools have closed and more help is needed at a university where storms caused major damage.

The Calhoun County Emergency Management Office said it was working to get emergency crews into storm-damaged areas after powerful storms struck Jacksonville State University and nearby areas.

School officials said major damage was done to the roof of the school’s 3,500-seat coliseum. Trees and power lines are down, and school officials are advising people to avoid traveling near campus.

Authorities said Calhoun County public schools and at least three private schools in the area would be closed Tuesday due to storm damage.

The storms were part of a large system that prompted tornado warnings Monday in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.

The governor of Alabama said there has been significant damage in parts of the state.

Gov. Kay Ivey said state resources were being sent to the affected areas, especially Jacksonville and Calhoun County, in her statement Monday night.

She added, "Our first priority is ensuring our people are safe. Please stay out of affected areas and let first responders do their job."

Alabama Power Co. is reporting about 15,000 homes and businesses without electricity in areas including Calhoun and Etowah counties.

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