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Back in Tuscaloosa, Ala., an apparent tornado damaged a motel and struck an oil change business, blowing the plastic out of large signs. Roads were crisscrossed with power poles and trees.

“It was a dark funnel coming down,” said Sam Packwood, who works at Bama Mini Storage in Tuscaloosa. “The sirens went off and all; it was pretty exciting for 20 or 30 minutes. I hope nobody got hurt.”

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Associated Press writers Jay Reeves in Birmingham; Chuck Bartels and Jeannie Nuss in Little Rock; Nomaan Merchant in Bald Knob; Kristi Eaton in Tushka, Okla.; Holbrook Mohr in Jackson, Miss.; and Jeff Martin and Jacob Jordan in Atlanta contributed to this report.