Madison County officials: 239 homes destroyed by tornado

337 homes in Madison County were destroyed or damaged by Wednesday's tornadoes.
337 homes in Madison County were destroyed or damaged by Wednesday's tornadoes.
239 homes were destroyed Wednesday.
239 homes were destroyed Wednesday.
Officials are hoping to have power restored by Wednesday.
Officials are hoping to have power restored by Wednesday.

Madison County officials held a joint news conference Saturday morning to update citizens on the progress of the disaster recovery.

Madison County Sheriff's officials said there have been eight confirmed fatalities in Madison County and many people were injured.

337 homes in the area were affected by Wednesday's deadly storms. 239 homes were destroyed and 98 have been declared uninhabitable. County officials said they are doing their best to accommodate people without homes by opening up shelters.

The widespread power outage is also a big problem. Huntsville Utilities spokesman Bill Pippen said 514,000 people are still without power in the county and officials estimate that it will be Tuesday before power is restored to the majority of customers.

Pippen said TVA has more than 4,000 employees that are currently working on lines and transmitters across the area.

Officials are also asking Madison County residents to conserve water. Officials said the South Memorial Parkway water plant is down causing a low pressure problem. Officials urge residents to not use water unnecessarily for tasks such as watering lawns or washing cars.

Because there are power problems in the area, officials said schools won't re-open until at least Wednesday. They're hoping to get full power restored by then.

[Map of Madison County power outage (PDF)]

Services like garbage pickup will be back on a regular schedule beginning Monday.

Sheriff Blake Dorning also addressed the curfew. Curfew for all Madison county residents is still in place, which means from about 8:00 p.m. until 5:30 a.m., people should not be out on the streets or in areas where they don't belong.

Deputies made 12 arrests Friday night for people breaking the dusk to dawn curfew and said they will make more if need be. Looting is also a problem, but the number of reports has gone down

Wednesday when power went out, there were about 30 reports of looting. Friday night, there were only 8.

As far as medical needs, emergency management officials said local hospitals are back up and running. There is also a medical clinic that's open at Sparkman 9th Grade Academy. That will be open from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. every day until further notice.

Officials also outlined how volunteers can help in the relief effort. They suggested getting to know your neighbor and cleaning up debris around your neighborhood.

Financial donations are also needed for the long clean-up ahead. Madison county officials asked any money that's contributed to the fund be donated to the Red Cross or United Way. All of those funds will go directly towards helping those affected by the storms.

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