Powerful storms pounded cities and towns across the South on Christmas Day, leaving at least two people dead and others injured.
A tornado struck Mobile, Alabama, according to the local National Weather Service office.
Rick Cauley said he never heard the train noise witnesses to tornadoes often talk about. It was hard for him to hear at all.
Cauley, an assistant football coach and history teacher at Murphy High School, took his wife, two young children and in-laws to the school to ride out the storm in the safety of the sturdy field house.
Ten minutes after they arrived, the pressure dropped suddenly.
"Our ears popped, it was hard to hear," he said.
The family huddled in the hallway of the field house as destruction swooped down on the campus.
"It was pretty horrific," Cauley said.
When he emerged into the dark night it was a surreal scene.
An equipment barn was destroyed, as was the facility the school used for indoor baseball practice.
"It's nothing but kindling," he said.
Six mobile classrooms, including one Cauley taught in, were also wiped out.
Cauley said there was also significant damage to the roof of the school auditorium and the band room.
"You could see it forming ... and then it came behind the church and then (there was) all green fluorescent lighting and it was like popping transformers left and right," another witness said. "You heard crashing and then the power went out."
There were no initial reports of injuries, a spokesman for Mobile Fire-Rescue said.
Several buildings, including a church and a high school, were damaged by the tornado, and there were several car wrecks, Steve Huffman said.
"One female was transported to the hospital with pregnancy issues, but she was not injured," he said.
A spokeswoman with the Alabama Emergency Management Agency said at least three counties were affected.
"We are still getting damage reports," Yasamie August said. "We know that Mobile County has significant damage from trees down and power lines down. Most of that is concentrated around Government Street. Choctaw and Clarke counties are also reporting damage.
"The city of Prichard had one person injured due to the home they were in," she said.