One family, connected by marriage and living in two homes along the same road, lost seven members.
"I just said my prayers".
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has extended the state of emergency that was issued last month because of tornadoes and severe weather and made a request for a federal major disaster declaration.
Birmingham National Weather Service lead meteorologist Chris Darden said Tuesday the main tornado was on the ground for about 70 miles through Lee County and well into Georgia.
He sent a telegram to the bishop of Mobile, Alabama, the Most Rev. Thomas Rodi, saying he was saddened to learn of the "tragic loss of life and injuries" caused by the tornado on Sunday. Surveying the damage on Monday, he said any loss of life is regrettable - but with a tornado this powerful, it was nearly inevitable.
Thornton's parents reportedly told WSFA that Thornton was playing with a friend when the tornado hit. In response to a question about nearby shelters for people living between the impacted cities of Opelika and Beauregard, the PIO said that shelter locations were listed on the EMA's website and Facebook page.
He said the dead included nearly entire families and at least three children, ages 6, 9 and 10. In one hard-hit area, a small excavator turned over pieces of splintered homes and trees, which firefighters then searched for signs of potential victims.
Jones said that several people were still unaccounted for and that crews were sorting through the debris in hopes of finding survivors.
- Officials have released the names of the victims killed in the devastating tornado that ripped through Beauregard, Alabama on Sunday.
John De Block, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham, described the tornado's almost mile-wide path to NPR member station WBHM: "The tornado struck shortly after 2 o'clock in the Macon County/Lee County line".
As of Wednesday it appears all forms of severe weather will be possible, including tornadoes.
Forecasters said in the report that the tornado was strong enough to bend the frame of a auto around what remained of a large tree.
Tornadoes on the EF scale range from zero to five, which represents estimated wind speeds, measured in three-second gusts, based on damage.
The 23 victims - including four children and seven people from one extended family - were all killed in or around the tiny community of Beauregard near the Georgia border.
"Our son found him", his widow, Carol Dean, said between sobs. But the storm took her husband.
"She was a very sweet, loving child, innocent as she could be", Ashley said.
Dean said her spouse, 53-year-old David Wayne Dean, was killed Sunday when the twister struck their home while she was at work.
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