At least 23 people were killed after at least two tornadoes hit Lee County, Alabama on Sunday afternoon, according to the Lee County sheriff.
Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones told The Associated Press late Sunday evening that children are among the dead. He says it’s possible the death toll could continue to rise, but authorities are pausing search efforts overnight because conditions are too dangerous in the dark due to massive amounts of debris.
“I cannot recall, at least in the last 50 years, and longer than that, a situation where we have had this type, this loss of life that we experienced today,” Jones told CBS affiliate WRBL-TV.
The National Weather Service confirmed late Sunday a tornado with at least an F3 rating and a track at least half a mile wide caused the deadly destruction in Alabama. Although the statement did not give exact wind estimates, F3 storms typically are gauged at wind speeds of between 158-206 mph.