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      Sheriff: Widespread damage in Etowah County; Schools closed Tuesday

      The Wendy's in Rainbow City suffered significant storm damage on Monday. (abc3340.com)

      Update:

      Due to widespread storm damage on Monday, all Etowah County Schools will be closed on Tuesday.

      Release from Etowah County at 10:30 p.m.

      Widespread damage throughout Etowah County has occurred as the result of a line of severe thunderstorms which moved through earlier today. Area agencies are responding to reports of injuries, structural damage, and tree and power line damage. The most heavily damaged areas are in Sardis City, Rainbow City, Gadsden, Attalla, Glencoe, and Southside.

      The Etowah County chapter of the American Red Cross has opened shelters at the First Baptist Church.

      Due to extensive damage, the Gadsden/Etowah County EMA advises people not to travel if possible. Several roads are still blocked by trees. Numerous power lines are down across the county. If you encounter a downed power line, assume that it is energized and dangerous. Do not drive over downed power lines.

      For more information, contact United Way First Call for Help at 2-1-1 or 1-888-421-1266.{}

      ----

      Widespread storm damage has been reported across Etowah County, according to Sheriff Todd Entrekin.

      Multiple calls were received concerning downed trees, power outages and damage to residences and businesses throughout Etowah County.{}

      The heaviest damage was reported on the western side of Etowah County in the areas of Altoona, Gallant and Smiths Institute.{} Major damage was also sustained in Whorton Bend.

      "Sheriff's deputies will be at check points in heavily damaged areas," states Sheriff Todd Entrekin.{} "All individuals who do not live in those areas will be asked to turn around and not allowed to enter."

      If you must travel this evening, please use extreme caution and be aware of downed trees, debris and power lines that are littering the roadways.{}

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