Elsewhere on Dauphin Street, the roof was missing from a decades-old wood-frame house, and power lines crisscrossed the road.
Ashleigh Gerth and her husband, Jason, live on the street with their sons, ages 3 and 1. Ashleigh was watching TV and realized Mobile was in the warning area when she heard a roar outside. She and her husband got everyone into the bathroom with other relatives who were there for Christmas.
"It was like a freight train was going through," said Ashleigh. As she spoke, her youngest son rested in her arms and the older boy clung to her leg.
As of 9 p.m., 31,000 customers were without power statewide — about 26,000 of them in the Mobile area, Alabama Power reported. Officials said there were also pockets of customers without power in Demopolis, Haleyville and Greensboro.
"We will work on the state level to do everything we can to help communities across the state," Gov. Robert Bentley said in a statement. "The people of Alabama are strong. We will recover together."