Multiple tornadoes have ripped through the heart of Alabama on Thursday, killing at least five people in the state.
The deaths have been reported in Calhoun County, and reports of destruction have also been reported in the Birmingham metro area. It is unclear if there are more fatalities.
This comes as Alabamians have been dealing with at least seven tornadoes over the course of the day. The threat is still not over, with the National Weather Service issuing a "tornado emergency" for Shelby and Jefferson counties, just south and east of the state capital, Birmingham.
17,000 Alabamians are currently without power, and it is reported that at least 30 homes being damaged in Pelham, Alabama.
This comes as 55 million people in the United States are bracing for a brutal storm system that is likely to bring more tornadoes into the forecast.
As for Alabama, the Storm Prediction Center released a statement telling those in the area that there is a great possibility of an EF 5 tornado in northern Alabama. This would be the strongest tornado possible that produces winds of at least 200 mph.
The Birmingham National Weather Service office stated that Alabamians should have "Tornado safety plans, everyone," the office said on Twitter. "Get low, get in the middle of the building. DON'T WAIT TO THE LAST MINUTE. TAKE COVER NOW!"
We will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.