Tornado leaves at least 10 dead as dangerous winds rip through Alabama

clintspencer/iStock(BEAUREGARD, Ala.) —  At least 10 people were killed in southeastern Alabama on Sunday as damaging tornadoes winds swept through the area, according to Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones.

The deaths were in Lee County, about 60 miles northeast of Montgomery, and the death toll is expected to rise, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office said.

Emergency officials have not released details about the victims, but the Lee County Emergency Management Agency said the brunt of the damages happened near Beauregard, Alabama, where at least two of the deaths occurred, according to local media reports.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey extended a previous state of emergency declaration in the wake of the severe weather in the area.

“Our hearts go out to those who lost their lives in the storms that hit Lee County today. Praying for their families & everyone whose homes or businesses were affected. Officials from @AlabamaEma & other agencies are quickly working to provide assistance,” Ivey tweeted.

The first tornado to touch down in Lee County was at least a half-mile wide with dangerous winds between 136 and 165 miles per hour, according the National Weather Service in Birmingham.

“We had someone on the ground in Lee Co briefly before the sun went down,” the service said in a tweet on Sunday. “First tornado to impact Lee County today was at least an EF-3 & at least 1/2 mi wide…this is pending further/more detailed assessment tomorrow.”

The Lee County Emergency Management Agency said more than 150 first responders were on the ground in the moments after the storm.

The tornadoes have struck parts of Alabama, near the Georgia state line, to Macon, Georgia, about 100 miles to the east.

Residents in the storm’s path shared harrowing video on social media Sunday as winds tore entire neighborhoods apart. One person posted footage of what appeared to be an uprooted metal guardrail wrapped around a tree, while others shared video of large poles and street lights twisting in the wind.

“I need prayers tornado just destroyed my house,” one Twitter user said. “Debris is just everywhere… parts to people’s houses, random mattress in our driveway, trees down everywhere I can look, power lines down everywhere,” another user added.

East Alabama Medical Center said they have received over 40 patients injured in the tornadoes and expect more to arrive. Some of the patients have been sent to surrounding hospitals, officials said in a statement.

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