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Tropical Storm Claudette, linked to deadly crash that killed 10, moves away from U.S.

The storm triggered destructive tornadoes and flooding and is linked to a car crash that left 10 people dead.
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Tropical Storm Claudette, which caused flooding on the Gulf Coast and is linked to 14 deaths, moved into the Atlantic on Monday, forecasters said.

Claudette formed Saturday morning and made landfall in Louisiana before moving across the South. It weakened to a tropical depression but regained tropical storm strength Monday morning as it moved over North Carolina.

The storm caused flooding with as much as 15 inches of rain in some areas and also spawned destructive tornadoes.

Officials have linked 14 deaths to the storm in Alabama, including a crash that killed 10 people, nine of whom were children.

Tropical storm warnings in the United States have expired. The storm, which had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, was around 660 miles southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia, at 5 p.m. Monday, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm was "moving quickly" away from the U.S. at around 29 mph and is expected to pass just south of Nova Scotia on Tuesday, the center said.

The storm, which formed on Saturday morning, pounded parts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle, producing rainfall totals of as much as 15 inches in some areas, the agency said.

The accident occurred in southern Alabama, where authorities believe a hydroplaning car triggered a chain reaction accident on I-65. Multiple vehicles crashed into each other, killing eight girls aged 4-17 who had been traveling in a small bus owned by a residential home for youths.

A 29-year-old man, Cody Fox, and his 9-month-old baby, Ariana, were also killed in the accident, Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock said.

Water from Tropical Storm Claudette floods a neighborhood after the storm passed through Slidell, La., on June 19, 2021.
Water from Tropical Storm Claudette floods a neighborhood after the storm passed through Slidell, La., on Saturday.Gerald Herbert / AP

The local sheriff’s office called the incident the “worst ever” in the county.

In addition to the crash, a 24-year-old father and his 3-year-old son died Saturday when a tree fell on their trailer in Tuscaloosa, a city council member said.

A 23-year-old woman died Saturday after her car ran off the road and into a swollen creek in DeKalb County, the coroner's office said. And a 31-year-old man in Birmingham died after falling into floodwaters Saturday night, according to a fire department official.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey on Monday declared a state of emergency, which allows for state said.

"My heart and prayers continue to go out to the loved ones of those tragically lost in the storms," Ivey said in a statement.

Claudette produced an EF-2 tornado that hit Brewton, Alabama, on Saturday, the National Weather Service said. Ivey said around 50 mobile homes were destroyed.

The tornado's path was around 22 miles long, according to the weather service, which sent a survey team to investigate. It destroyed one mobile home and tossed the building's frame over 100 yards. The owner was ejected and suffered serious injuries, the weather service said.

Mayor Yank Lovelace said there had been "lots of damage." Photos posted by the mayor and video published by NBC affiliate WVTM showed destroyed homes.

Images published by the station also showed heavy flooding in the city of Northport.

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In Slidell, Louisiana, authorities conducted multiple rescues after dozens of cars became trapped on roads, NBC affiliate KPLC reported.

Slidell Mayor Greg Cromer told that he hadn’t seen such serious flooding in 25 years.

"The difference between then and last night was in 1995, we had 25 inches of rain in 24 hours,” he told the site. “Last night we had 10 to 12 in three hours.”

"If we'd had a fourth hour," he added, "we would've been looking at a substantial amount of damage this morning."