BEAUREGARD, Ala. – Officials with the National Weather Service are now calling Sunday’s storm a ‘tornado outbreak’. Birmingham meteorologist-in-charge, Chris Darden, says he believes 30 tornadoes touched down total on Sunday.
Twelve of those were in Alabama and four tornadoes touched down in Lee County. One of them was an EF-4. The last time an EF-4 hit the county was March 20, 1875. This storm was the deadliest March tornado in Alabama since March 21, 1932.
Senator Doug Jones Visits Beauregard
People in Lee County continue to pick up the pieces. Governor Ivey has visited the area. Attorney General Steve Marshall has walked through the wreckage. Thursday, U.S. Senator Doug Jones visited the community of Beauregard.
The winds roared at 170 miles per hour Sunday. It was enough force to rip trees from their roots, turn over vehicles, and ravage part of the community of Beauregard.
“Our trailer’s there. It was just twisted sideways. It’s not livable. Pretty much looked like somebody flipped it upside down and flipped it back on its side,” tornado survivor, Aimee Thrower said.
23 lives were lost.
“Right across the road from me, my neighbors have nothing. Lives were lost there. So, we’re very fortunate and we think,” tornado survivor, Christina Thrower said.
“You cannot fully appreciate what has happened here without walking through walking through the debris,” said U.S. Senator Doug Jones (D – Alabama.)
Senator Jones visited Beauregard Thursday.
“The devastation just absolutely will take your breath away,” said Senator Jones.
FEMA has crews on the ground helping people who lost everything sign up for emergency funding. Volunteers are coming forward to help with clean-up efforts.
“No matter how bad, no matter how tragic, we are resilient. We will rebound. We will rebuild and for right now, both this county, and the state, and this country, and this world, we are Beauregard strong,” he said.
Donations are continuing to pour in. Emergency aid has been granted for the area. But in the weeks and months to come, area officials ask people to not let Lee County slip from their minds. Because they have a long road ahead as they construct a new normal.
Lee County Sheriff’s warning to looters
While many want to reach out and help, some want to harm. In Lee County, there have been sporadic reports of looting. Sheriff Lee Jones has a message to anyone who wants to harm tornado survivors.
“If they have any inkling about coming to Lee County, coming to Smiths Station, coming to Beauregard and have evil intent, then be forewarned they will go to jail,” Jones said.
He says the sheriff’s office is working to keep the areas with damage secure so the people who are supposed to be there can access the property without the fear of people stealing belongings displaced by the storm.