Officials: All missing from Lee County tornado have been accounted for
BEAUREGARD, Ala. (AP) — Officials overseeing the disaster response to a tornado-stricken community in Alabama say all people reported missing have been accounted for with no increase in the death toll.
Lee County Coroner Bill Harris told a news conference Wednesday that the death toll stands at 23, but his office is “in standby mode on the outside chance they find somebody else, which is not likely.”
Sheriff Jay Jones said the disaster response will now shift to recovery following two full days of searching.
Officials say a powerful EF4 tornado, cutting a path of destruction nearly a mile wide, caused the devastation Sunday in rural Beauregard, Alabama.
Government survey teams have confirmed at least 34 tornadoes struck the Southeast in the deadly weekend outbreak that devastated a rural community in Alabama.
The National Weather Service says a violent storm system Sunday spawned at least 11 twisters in Alabama and 14 more across Georgia. Five tornadoes have been confirmed in Florida, and four more in South Carolina.
The most powerful was an EF4 tornado blamed for killing 23 people in Beauregard, Alabama, as it traveled roughly 70 miles (112 kilometers) on a path that also left a trail of destruction in western Georgia.
Forecasters say tornado-ravaged Alabama and several other southern states will soon be under threat of more severe storms.
The national Storm Prediction Center says there’s a risk of some tornadoes with the system that’s arriving in the South this weekend. The Storm Prediction Center says a vast part of the region from Texas to Georgia will be under threat of severe weather Saturday.
The area at risk of storms is home to 41 million people and includes major cities such as Dallas, New Orleans and Atlanta. Also included in the region is most of Alabama, including the small community of Beauregard where crews have been searching through rubble after 23 people were killed by a tornado on Sunday.
Pope Francis is sending condolences to tornado victims in Alabama, where searchers have been scouring a dismal landscape of shattered homes, splintered pines and broken lives.
President Donald Trump said he’ll visit Alabama on Friday to see the damage.
Twenty-three people were killed and dozens more were injured when the powerful tornado ripped through Lee County on Sunday. The youngest of those killed was 6, the oldest 89.
It was the deadliest tornado to hit the U.S. since May 2013, when an EF5 twister killed 24 people in Moore, Oklahoma.