At least 23 people, including a 6-year-old, were killed in a series of tornadoes that hit Alabama on Sunday, and Samaritan’s Purse CEO Franklin Graham is calling for prayer for the victims of the storms.
Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones on Monday said the search and rescue efforts were continuing in what amounts to “an extensive debris field.”
“There were homes there once, they are simply just gone,” he said.
Graham released a statement saying: “Our hearts go out to those in the path of a series of tornadoes that touched down in Alabama and Georgia this afternoon. Tragically, at least 23 people are confirmed dead in Lee County, Alabama. Pray for the families of those who were killed in these deadly storms. And pray for first responders and those involved in search and rescue.”
DailyMail.com reported the body of 6-year-old Armando Hernandez, was found in the rubble.
The report said another child, an 8-year-old girl, also was a victim.
At least two tornadoes touched down in Lee County with wind speeds of between 136 mph and 165 mph, the report said.
Jones said the tornado took a straight path down a local artery in Beauregard, east of Montgomery.
Homes, including mobile homes, were taken out, with some residences reduced to nothing more than a slab of concrete.
President Trump said via Twitter: “To the great people of Alabama and surrounding areas: Please be careful and safe. Tornadoes and storms were truly violent and more could be coming. To the families and friends of the victims, and to the injured, God bless you all!”
Power was knocked out for large areas hit by the storm. A cell-phone tower was knocked down and blocked U.S. route 280 in Lee County.
Trees were splintered and snapped, and metal and other debris covered much of the landscape.
The Associated Press said the damage was “catastrophic.”
“Drones flying overheard (sic) equipped with heat-seeking devices had scanned the area for survivors but the dangerous conditions halted the search late Sunday,” Jones told the wire service. “The devastation is incredible.”
The storm, rated F3, was at least half a mile wide, the report said.
AP reported that in Talbotton, Georgia, about 80 miles south of Atlanta, a handful of people were injured by either powerful straight-line winds or a tornado that destroyed several mobile homes and damaged other buildings.
Jones said the death toll still could rise further.
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said: “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.”
Jones said the damage was “catastrophic.”
“Bare ground where homes once stood.”
Hear a USA Today report:
See a report by ABC News: