Tornadoes kill 23 in Lee County, Alabama
Published: 03:58 PM, 4 March 2019 Updated: 04:03 PM, 4 March 2019
At least 23 people have been killed as tornadoes struck Lee County in eastern Alabama, authorities say.
County Sheriff Jay Jones said there had been "catastrophic" damage and there were fears more bodies would be found. The number of injured is not yet known.
Rescue efforts have been halted until dawn due to the danger of searching in the dark.
The most devastating tornado struck the area around Beauregard, carving a path at least half a mile (0.8km) wide.
The National Weather Service (NWS) classified it as at least an EF-3 - meaning winds of up to 165mph (266km/h).
How a tornado is formed
It warned people to "stay out of damaged areas so first responders could do their job".
Where have the tornadoes struck?
The area around Beauregard, about 60 miles (95km) east of Alabama's state capital, Montgomery, appears to have borne the brunt. The tornado there struck at about 14:00 (20:00 GMT) on Sunday.
Authorities fear the death toll could rise.
Residents of Smiths Station told local TV they had seen businesses destroyed there. A large bar called the Buck Wild Saloon had had its roof torn off.
Sheriff Jones said: "The challenge is the sheer volume of the debris where all the homes were located. It's the most I've seen that I can recall."
Tornado warnings were also issued for Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. Footage showed smashed buildings and snapped trees in Talbotton, about 80 miles south of Atlanta.
Tornadoes were also reported in Walton County and Cairo in northern Florida.
What are the casualties?
All of the deaths so far have been in Lee County. Authorities say they are still working to identify the victims and the injured.
One of the dead in Beauregard was an eight year old, family members said.
"We've never had a mass fatality situation, that I can remember, like this in my lifetime," Lee County coroner Bill Harris said.
He said on Sunday evening: "We've still got people being pulled out of rubble. We're going to be here all night."
Alabama meteorologist Eric Snitil tweeted that there were more deaths in Lee County in one day due to a tornado than in the entirety of the US in 2018.
East Alabama Medical Centre said it was treating more than 40 people injured by the extreme weather, and was expecting more.
What was the damage?
PowerOutage.US says there are about 3,000 customers without power across Alabama, most of them in Lee County.
Cold weather is forecast for the region after the tornadoes, with temperatures predicted to drop to near freezing.
The National Weather Service said it would send three survey teams to assess the damage caused by tornadoes across Alabama on Monday.
The extreme weather initially cut off electricity for 21,000 Georgia Power customers, according to a company spokeswoman, and tore down trees and destroyed homes.
What's been the reaction?
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey posted on Twitter to warn residents there could be more extreme weather to come.
"Our hearts go out to those who lost their lives in the storms that hit Lee County today," she wrote.
President Donald Trump also tweeted, asking people to "Please be careful and safe".
And Apple CEO Tim Cook, who was born in Mobile in the southwest of the state, said he was "devastated" by the news, saying Lee County was "a place close to my heart".
Are tornadoes expected at this time of year?
This series has occurred earlier than the traditional peak season for tornadoes, which runs from April to June, when more than half of the year's tornadoes generally strike.
Weather systems are more conducive in these months. Warm air flows north from the Gulf of Mexico at the same time as storm systems are propelled into the south and mid-west by a southward dip in the jet stream.
These latest tornadoes appear to have carried the deadliest toll since 35 people were killed in Arkansas and Mississippi in April 2014.
A "super outbreak" of tornadoes across a swathe of the US in April 2011 killed more than 300 people.
- Iran says new budget bucks US oil embargo, uses Russian loan
- Cleansing operation must succeed
- Bangladesh create history securing 14 golds
- 2 killed in Jhenaidah
- Application for admission begins in SAU
- Bangladesh out of title race
- NBR Chairman hopes for 20pc revenue growth
- ‘E-TIN holders to be forced for return submission’
- Ten cattle stolen in one night
- Mahmudullah doubtful in BBPL opener
- BPL inaugural ceremony kicks off
- WI opt to bowl against India
- PM distributes National Film Awards
- Motorcyclist killed in Dinajpur road crash
- Drug dealer detained in Gazipur
- 40 arrested in anti-narcotic drive
- Nantie Hayward named as Sylhet Thunder’s bowling coach
- Tahsan marry to Shaon!
- Bangladesh U-23 team lost to Sri Lanka
- 20 killed in Syria air strikes
- Export trade closed for 6 hours at Benapole
- Lemon-tamarind pomfret fish fry
- Light to moderate fog likely
- Attacking trio of PSG inspire late comeback
- Rumpa’s ‘boyfriend’ Saikat on 4-day remand
- Tigresses clinch gold in SA games
- Man held with gold bars at Shah Amanat
- 25 killed, 120 injured in Baghdad gun attack
- A.T.M. Shamsuzzaman to get Lifetime Honors
- HC upholds verdict in journo Atik murder case
- All News »
- ‘Bangla’ recognized as 2nd official language in London
- Salman-Katrina arrive Dhaka
- Srijit-Mithila’s wedding today
- VP Nur’s phone talks leaked
- Three TV channels to broadcast BPL opening ceremony live
- Mithila’s name changed after wedding
- Mithila tie knot with Srijit
- 2 Jabale Nur drivers among 3 get life-term
- ‘Bangabandhu Express’ to run from victory day
- Messi bags Ballon d’Or for record sixth time
- UN chief says humanity’s ‘war against nature’ must stop
- BD scientist photo likely in UK currency soon
- ‘Hotath Bristi’ actress June Malia gets married
- Trump calls Canada`s Trudeau `two-faced`
- COP25 island nation in `fight to death`
- Former England captain Bob Willis dies
- ‘Daughter in admissions scandal’ Olivia returns to YouTube
- Euro-2020: Match schedule
- Kushtia double murder case: 4 to die, 7 get life term
- Salman Khan sunken in Afghan beauty
- Flower blooms with Azan
- Shakib elected Player of the Year even after ban
- Mithila-Srijit’s honeymoon to Switzerland
- 3 of same family incl couple killed in Tangail road crash
- Barca, Man United, Juventus to play tonight
- Ali Dacoit killed in Islampur gunfight
- Tahsan marry to Shaon!
- Biman ex-director and DGM detained
- 24 killed as bus plunges off cliff in Tunisia
- Remittance inflow increases by 31.75pc in November