A dozen hurricanes swept over parts of Alabama and Georgia at wind speeds of up to 218 kilometers per hour.
Hurricanes have cost more than 20 lives in the southeastern United States. US broadcasters reported on Sunday night (local time that at least 22 people were killed.) There were already 23 reported fatalities and there is still a search for missing persons.
“Unfortunately, it looks as if this number will continue to increase,” said the Sheriff Jay Jones of Lee County in the US state of Alabama the local broadcaster WFSA 12. Among the fatalities are also children, in addition to several seriously injured and missing. The tornado did “catastrophic” damage to Lee County.
In addition to Alabama areas in neighboring Georgia were hit by the tornadoes, which came to wind speeds of up to 218 kilometers per hour, according to the National Weather Service. There was the talk of about a dozen hurricanes in both states. The municipality of Beauregard seemed particularly hard hit, from which massive damage was reported.
The authorities issued a warning about dangerous tornadoes and urged local residents to be extremely careful. But the warnings went partly to the point. Even US President Donald Trump spoke on Twitter and called for arming himself for further hurricanes.
According to the weather service, the first tornado that hit Lee County had a diameter of almost a kilometer. Pictures of the scene showed destroyed houses, uprooted trees, and rubble-strewn streets. Near the city of Smith’s Station, a cell tower crashed onto a four-lane highway. The power was lost in thousands of households.
The rescue workers were in action with a large contingent. However, their salvage work and the search for victims were hampered by the onset of darkness. Sheriff Jones also used drones with thermal imaging cameras.
Lee County’s Legal Counsel, Bill Harris, told WFSA 12 that the rescuers were unable to penetrate some of the affected areas because of the chaotic situation. Some casualties had been taken out of danger by truck drivers. “This is a day of destruction for Lee County,” Harris said. “I can not remember that in our lifetime we have had such a situation with masses of victims.”