Tropical Storm Regains Strength After 13 Deaths, Including 8 Children

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Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
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After being downgraded to a tropical depression, Tropical Storm Claudette regained its status following heavy rains, high winds and flash flooding in the southeast that led to the deaths of 13 people, The Associated Press (AP) reported Monday.

Eight children in a van for a youth home for abused or neglected children died Saturday after the vehicle is believed to have hydroplaned in Alabama, Butler County Coroner Wayne Garlock said, according to The AP. The children in the vehicle were between the ages of 4 to 17. Candice Gulley, the youth home’s director, was the only survivor. (RELATED: Tropical Storm Warning Issued As Flooding Expected For Parts Of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, And Florida)

Gulley, the lone survivor in the youth home bus that crashed, was still in the hospital Sunday following the accident, according to The AP. Gulley lost two of her children in the crash. Four other children were ranch residents and two were guests.

The crash involved multiple vehicles on Interstate 65, according to The AP. A man and his baby in another vehicle were among the victims.

Multiple other people also died Saturday due to the effects of the storm. In Tuscaloosa, a 24-year-old man and a 3-year-old boy died after a tree fell on their house, according to The AP. A 23-year-old woman from Fort Payne drowned Saturday night after her car went into a creek, according to WHNT-TV

Claudette approached the coast of the Carolinas Monday, picking up maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The center expects an additional 1 to 2 inches of rain across far eastern North Carolina throughout Monday, with potential flash flooding. 

The storm is expected to cross into the western Atlantic Ocean later Monday morning, and pass south of Nova Scotia on Tuesday, according to the NHC.

“An isolated tornado is possible early this morning over parts of the Outer Banks,” Brad Reinhart, a specialist with NHC, told The AP. “By afternoon, we expect the system to be well offshore.”