Videos: Alabama, Georgia Launch Searches in Aftermath of Deadly Tornadoes

Damage is seen from a tornado which killed at least 23 people in Beauregard, Alabama on March 4, 2019. - Rescuers in Alabama were set to resume search operations Monday after at least two tornadoes killed 23 people, uprooted trees and caused "catastrophic" damage to buildings and roads in the …

Rescue crews in Alabama and Georgia are searching for survivors Monday after deadly tornadoes tore through parts of the southeast, killing at least 23 people and wrecking wide-spread damage to homes and businesses.

The trail of destruction from the Sunday tornado was at least half a mile wide and overwhelmed rural Alabama’s Lee County’s coroners’ office, forcing it to call in help from the state. The Sunday tornado, which had winds that appeared to be around 160 mph or greater, was part of a powerful storm system that also slashed its way across the Deep South, spawning numerous tornado warnings in parts of Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida.

Photos and video of the destruction were shared to social media Monday morning.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones told local media that the tornado appears to have barreled through county’s main road, reducing homes to rubble.  “It looks like someone almost just took a giant knife and scraped the ground,” he said during a press briefing.

Jones confirmed children were among the dead, but could not know the total number, and said the number of victims could spike as the search continues. Lee County Emergency Management Agency Rita Smith said the county has at least 150 first responders and one law enforcement dog searching for survivors.

According to the National Weather Service, the tornado, which was designated an F3 rating had estimated wind speeds of between 158-206 mph.

In a tweet late Sunday, President Donald Trump said: “To the great people of Alabama and surrounding areas: Please be careful and safe. Tornadoes and storms were truly violent and more could be coming. To the families and friends of the victims, and to the injured, God bless you all!”

In rural Talbotton, Georgia, about 80 miles south of Atlanta, a handful of people were injured by either powerful straight-line winds or a tornado that destroyed several mobile homes and damaged other buildings, according to Leigh Ann Erenheim, director of the Talbot County Emergency Management Agency.

She said searches of damaged homes and structures had turned up no serious injuries or deaths there.

Authorities in southwest Georgia were searching door-to-door in darkened neighborhoods after a possible tornado touched down in the rural city of Cairo, about 33 miles north of Tallahassee, Florida, on Sunday evening. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries.

Further, authorities said a tornado was confirmed by radar in the Florida Panhandle late Sunday afternoon. A portion of Interstate 10 on the Panhandle was blocked in one direction for a time in Walton County in the aftermath, said Don Harrigan, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Tallahassee.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 


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