(CBS/AP) Two tornadoes have reportedly touched down in Alabama Friday, leveling houses and damaging a school and a jail, as a severe weather system continues to sweep across a region from southern Ohio through much of Kentucky into Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.
Emergency management officials told CBS News that one tornado has touched down in Limestone County, and another in Madison County heading towards an elementary school in Meridianville.
Buckhorn High School and Middle School in New Market, Ala., have been damaged, with part of the roof torn off the middle school. The students are said to be safe - no injuries reported - according to a Weather Channel report.
Madison County officials have told CBS News of "major damage to several houses" in the area of Harvest and Monrovia, but there is no word yet on injuries. Officials told CBS News one of the twisters cut a 4-5 mile swath.
The Associated Press is reporting that several houses were "leveled" in one neighborhood in the Walker Lane area.
CBS Affiliate WHNT is also reporting the Limestone County Correctional Facility took a direct hit, with several injuries reported.
An EMA officer told CBS News they are "in the middle of a life and safety event"
Huntsville Utilities is also reporting several large outages affecting 30,000 customers in northwestern Madison and Limestone Counties reports WHNT.
The National Weather Service said severe storms are likely across north Alabama from Friday afternoon through Saturday morning. A tornado warning was issued Friday morning for east-central Limestone County and northern Madison County. The weather service said there's a chance of long-track tornadoes, strong winds, flooding and large hail.
The parts of the country at highest risk for tornadoes are north of Alabama in Tennessee and Kentucky, but the weather service says northern Alabama still has a medium risk for twisters. Chances of problems are less across the southern end of the state.
Twenty school systems - including the cities of Birmingham, Fayetteville and Russellville, and Colbert, Cullman, Etowah, Giles, Lauderdale, Lawrence and Walker Counties -are dismissing students early because of the possibility of strong storms.