5 deaths reported as damaging storms rake Alabama

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) - At least five people are dead after thunderstorms roared through Alabama with winds near hurricane force causing damage severe enough for the governor to declare a state of emergency.

State and local authorities said Wednesday that fatalities have been reported in Jefferson, Cullman, Jackson and St. Clair counties.

Pat Curry, chief deputy coroner for Jefferson County, says a man was killed in Vestavia Hills south of Birmingham early Wednesday when a broken limb fell out of a storm-damaged tree and landed on him.

Gov. Robert Bentley has declared a state of emergency, saying tornadoes, severe thunderstorms, hail, and straight line winds caused damage to "numerous homes and businesses" in Alabama. More severe weather is expected later Wednesday.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.