Claudette regains tropical storm strength after 13 deaths

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The home at lot 226, owned by Larry and Sally Higgins, was destroyed by heavy flooding Saturday night at 2823 Hunter Creek Road, Sunday, June 20, 2021, in Northport, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)

ATLANTA — Claudette has returned to tropical storm strength Monday morning as it nears the coast of the Carolinas.

The system had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph Monday morning, less than two days after Claudette was blamed for 13 deaths in Alabama. A multi-vehicle crash killed eight children who were riding in a van for a youth home for abused or neglected kids. The wreck also claimed the lives of a Tennessee man and his infant daughter.

Separately, a tree fell on a home killing an adult and a toddler, and a woman whose car ran off the road into a swollen creek died in north Alabama.

Authorities in Alabama said a suspected tornado from the system demolished or badly damaged at least 50 homes is small towns just north of the Florida border.

Sheriff Heath Jackson in Escambia County said the system “pretty much leveled” a mobile home park, toppled trees onto houses and ripped the roof off of a high school gym. There were immediate no reports of deaths.

Most of the damage was done in or near the towns of Brewton and East Brewton, about 48 miles (about 77 kilometers) north of Pensacola, Florida.

Early Saturday, the storm dumped flooding rains north of Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana and along the Mississippi coast.

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