- AL Reading Service
Several are dead in Lee County after multiple tornadoes touched down Sunday in southeast Alabama. The death toll stands at 22 with more expected as search crews look for more victims. Many are believed to be injured and still missing. Officials with the Lee County Emergency Management Agency say they are in search and rescue mode.
John De Block, a warning coordination meteorologist with NWS Birmingham, says survey crews from Jefferson County will head to Lee County early Monday morning. The strength of the storm was at least an EF3, according to De Block, which can bring wind speeds of up to 165 miles per hour and causes severe damage.
NWS confirmed tornadoes touched down in Russell, Macon and Barbour Counties along with two tornadoes in Lee County. This left damage to the Weedon Field Airport in Eufaula.
— bethenders (@bethenders3) March 3, 2019
The Lee County Emergency Management Agency says the Smith Station Volunteer Fire Department Station is being designated as the area for citizens affected by the storms to seek assistance with sheltering or other unmet needs. The EMA says they are currently in search and rescue mode. And the NWS says they plan to send three survey teams Monday to assess damage in Autauga, Macon, Lee & Barbour Counties. Road closures include Lee Road 165/166 at Lee Road 40. These roads will remain closed until the storm debris and damage assessments are made. Governor Kay Ivey tweeted her condolences following the storms and warns of the possibility of more severe weather including a freeze warning.
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. — Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) March 3, 2019
All Lee County schools will be closed Monday. Providence Baptist Church in Beauregard has been opened as a Red Cross shelter for those that may have been impacted by the storms. The county sheriff’s office on Twitter encourages people to use online resources such as the Red Cross to locate loved ones who may be missing.