Alabama April 27 tornadoes

Pratt City tornado
Christopher Mardorf / FEMA

Officials in Birmingham, Alabama say three of five planned community storm shelters will be open before the spring tornado season next year.

That's nearly six years after the April 27, 2011 tornadoes that devastated parts of Alabama, including the community of Pratt City. One tornado hit the northwest Birmingham community, killing one person and destroying the library, a fire station, numerous homes, apartment buildings, at least one church and several vehicles.

Joe Songer/

Officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will present Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley with a check for $49 million to be used to help Alabama communities rebuild from damage caused by the April 27, 2011 tornadoes.

G.M. Andrews/AP Photo

The Alabama Legislature has approved selling bonds to borrow $30 million to repair tornado-damaged schools.

The Senate voted 26-6 Monday afternoon to give final passage to the bond legislation. The bill now goes to the governor for his review.

Nathan Reed / Flickr

Huntsville Utilities is sending employees north to help with the superstorm Sandy recovery efforts.

The city-owned utility is talking with organizations that coordinate power restoration following major storms to determine where the local workers are needed most.

Utility spokesman Bill Yell says two three-person bucket crews and a three-person pole-setting crew will be heading out to help, most likely in the Washington, D.C., area.

As they drive north Wednesday, the crews will have to go around heavy snow in the North Carolina and Virginia mountains.

Kansas City District / Flickr

A nearly $500,000 federal grant is being used to build a community safe room in Tuscaloosa.

An announcement released Friday says the shelter will house as many as 300 people in Tuscaloosa, where more than 50 people died in the April 27 tornado outbreak last year. It will be located at the city's transportation building.

The money is coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Another $640,000 grant will be used for an emergency generator for waste water treatment facilities. / Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs

Alabama has up to $8 million to help families repair or replace homes that were destroyed by tornadoes that hit central and north Alabama in April 2011.

The director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, Jim Byard, said Thursday the money is from a federal grand. Owners of single-family homes can receive up to $25,000 each.

Three organizations that serve the damaged regions — the Alabama Rural Coalition for the Homeless, the Community Services Program of West Alabama, and the Community Action Partnership of North Alabama — will take applications.