Source: The Weather Channel
The search resumes Monday for victims of a vicious tornado outbreak that ripped across the South on Sunday killing at least 23 people in Alabama.
The violent storms left debris strewn across southern Alabama and Georgia, the Florida Panhandle and into parts of South Carolina. More than 10,000 homes and businesses still had no electricity as of 8 a.m. Monday, according to poweroutage.us.
“Much colder air is pushing into the South from the Midwest, and that will make conditions even worse for those without power into midweek,” weather.com meteorologist Christopher Dolce said. Parts of Alabama and Georgia will see low temperatures in the 20s and low 30s each morning Tuesday through Thursday”
The Lee County Sheriff’s Office told local media that no fewer than 23 people were killed when the tornado roared through the community of Beauregard in southern Alabama county shortly after 2 p.m. CST.
“The devastation is incredible,” Sheriff Jay Jones told WRBL.
The sheriff later said some of the victims were children, and two people were in intensive care. WRBL said at least 40 people were injured in the storm.
Hospitals in the Beauregard area have canceled elective surgeries so they can care for the number of people injured in the storms, Dave Malkoff of The Weather Channel reported.
The National Weather Service said the twister was at least EF3 in strength and was a half-mile wide or more.
Sunday was the deadliest day for tornadoes in the United States since May 20, 2013.
“We’ve still got people being pulled out of rubble,” Lee County Coroner Bill Harris told AL.com. “We’re going to be here all night.”
Copeland said Lee County schools are canceled Monday because “several huge holes are on top of the (elementary) school.”
The storm also destroyed the Buck Wild Saloon and damaged a gas station. It also toppled a cell phone tower across U.S. 280.
“I’m begging people to stay home … and stay off the roads,” Copeland said, so search and rescue efforts can continue.
The Lee County storm warnings were two of several tornado warnings issued for Alabama and Georgia on Sunday afternoon.
Reports said multiple homes were damaged in Dupree, Alabama, south of Dothan. Other reports said the airport and a fire station were damaged in Eufaula, Alabama.
Some 30 miles north of Tallahassee, the town of Cairo and its 9,500 residents suffered a direct hit from what appeared to be a tornado on radar. Shortly after, authorities reported widespread damage in the town, but it was unclear if there were any injuries.
Social media was also sharing reports of damage in Perry, Georgia.
Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese said trees were down and some houses were damaged, the Macon Telegraph reported.
While following the storm, Peach County Sheriff’s Sgt. Shane Brooks told the Macon Telegraph he was nearly hit directly by the tornado as he drove down Duke Road in Byron.
“It was moving so fast I didn’t have time do anything but just sit there and hold on,” he told the Telegraph. “It was not something I would want to experience again.”
Crawford County Fire Chief Randall Pate said a tornado destroyed four homes. Pate also reported one injury: a woman whose ankle was broken when her home was damaged.
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office said five homes were destroyed and another five damaged when severe storms hit the Florida Panhandle. At least two people were taken to a hospital.
The NWS said a tornado was confirmed south of Quincy, Florida, in Gadsden County, and another was spotted near Crawfordville in Wakulla County.