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Enterprise, Alabama
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Victim count continues to change; some names released

March 2, 2007

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The death toll from Thursday's tornado in Enterprise now stands a nine; eight Enterprise High School students and one senior citizen.

Another 121 people received injuries which required hospitalization.

More than 100 people were treated at local hospitals following the deadly tornados that hit the Wiregrass area. At least 20 are still hospitalized from storm-related injuries.

About 65 residents were treated at Medical Center Enterprise and 10 remain hospitalized. Flowers Hospital in Dothan treated about 30 people with eight still hospitalized. Dale Medical Center in Ozark treated eight people with one still hospitalized, and Southeast Alabama Medical Center treated seven with one remaining in the hospital.

The names of eight victims, including seven students, were released in the afternoon by the Coffee County Coroner's Office. They were:

A.J. Jackson, 16
Michael Tompkins, 17
Ryan Mohler, 17
Michael Bowen, 16
Katie Strunk, 16
Michelle Wilson, 16
Jamie Ann Vidensek, 17
Peter Dunn, a teenager whose age was not available
Edna Hayes Strickland, 83

The students who were killed died when the tornado struck Enterprise High School. The decision had been made more than two hours earlier to release students from school early due to the threat of severe weather, but they were held at the school as the severe weather approached.

Gov. Bob Riley defended school officials' decision to keep students at the school until 1 p.m., saying it was the right decision and it likely saved lives.

Boswell also defended the decision, saying the tornado was an act of God and there isn't much you can do about it.

With extensive damage making the high school unusable, school officials are working on plans for where to hold classes, but they have no definite plans as of right now.


The tornado may be classified as an EF-3 by the National Weather Service.

According to the Enhanced F-scale, an EF-3 tornado would have wind speeds between 136 and 165 miles per hour.Enhanced Fujita Scale

Bob Goree, a meteorologist in the National Weather Service's Tallahassee, Fla., office, said the tornado was 200 yards wide. A tornado warning for the area was issued 30 to 45 minutes before it hit the school.
The students who were killed died when the tornado struck Enterprise High School. The decision had been made more than two hours earlier to release students from school early due to the threat of severe weather, but they were held at the school as the severe weather approached.
Gov. Bob Riley defended school officials' decision to keep students at the school until 1 p.m., saying it was the right decision and it likely saved lives.

Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell also defended the decision, saying the tornado was an act of God and there isn't much you can do about it.

With extensive damage making the high school unusable, school officials are working on plans for where to hold classes, but they have no definite plans as of right now.

The Alabama Emergency Management Agency is currently in Enterprise assessing the damage, along with several state and federal officials. President Bush will also be touring areas hit by Thursday's tornadoes, but whether or not he'll be in Enterprise has not yet been announced.

The AEMA has received preliminary reports of 175 homes damaged in Coffee county, that are located outside the city of Enterprise, and the state is working to assess the damage in other parts of the state as well.

Alabama EMA Regional Coordinator Don hartley said approximately 13,300 power outages occurred due to the storm.

Dothaneagle.com will bring you updates throughout the day.


 

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