Officials on Tuesday released the names and ages of the 23 tornado victims in Lee County. They range in age from six to 89 years old. Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones says the death toll hasn’t increased, but seven to eight people are still missing.
County coroner Bill Harris says the EF-4 tornado, with winds estimated at 170 mph, killed seven people in one family – alone.
“We believe that every victim was in the residence when the storm hit,” he says.
Overall, four of the deaths were children ages 6, 8, 9, and 10. Close to half of the victims were older than 60. Most of the 90 people injured have been released from the hospital.
National Weather Service Meteorologist Chris Darden says people didn’t have much time to go far. “Right on the county line there probably about five minutes of warning but right here in town there was about eight to nine minutes.”
Darden estimates the Lee County tornado continued into Georgia for about 46 more miles. Three of Sunday’s tornadoes in surrounding counties have also been upgraded to an EF-2.
Beauregard, an unincorporated area of about 10,000 people near the Georgia line, was hardest hit.