Washington: At least 22 people were killed in the US state of Alabama as a cluster of storms ripped through the country’s Southeast region, spawning multiple tornadoes and leaving a trail of destruction.
The first tornado warning in central Alabama went out at around 1 p.m. on Sunday. As the storms pushed east, the tornadoes left a path of destruction that stretched from Alabama into Florida and Georgia, reports says.
The reported deaths were all in Lee County, Alabama, where two tornadoes, one at least a half-mile wide, wrecked homes and uprooted trees.
The East Alabama Medical Centre in Opelika had received more than 60 patients as of Sunday night, said John Atkinson, a spokesman for the centre. He said the conditions of the patients varied.
President Donald Trump said in a tweet on Sunday night that people in and around Alabama should “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.”
In Georgia, one tornado on Sunday damaged dozens of homes and businesses.
Meredith Wyatt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Alabama, said the strong line of storms moved quickly across the area on Sunday afternoon.
She said it was unclear how many tornadoes touched down but said the service issued at least six warnings on Sunday afternoon.
The service will send teams on Monday to survey the damage to determine the path of the tornadoes, their intensity and how long they stayed on the ground.
In 2011, 230 people were killed after more than 60 tornadoes hit Alabama.