What appeared to be a series of tornadoes tore through northern Alabama today, destroying several homes, sending several to the hospital, and ripping the roof off a maximum-security state prison, the AP reports. A portion of the prison's fence was also knocked down, but the Alabama Department of Corrections says the facility is still secure, and that no inmates have escaped.
The storms follow on the heels of the deadly twisters that hit the Midwest earlier this week, and from Georgia to Ohio anxiety mounted that more such storms are on the way. Thousands of school students in Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Kentucky were sent home as a precaution. (Read more tornado stories.)