Sheriff: 22 confirmed dead in apparent twister

A fallen cell tower lies across U.S. Route 280 highway in Lee County, Ala., in the Smiths Station community after what appeared to be a tornado struck in the area Sunday, March 3, 2019. Severe storms destroyed mobile homes, snapped trees and left a trail of destruction amid weather warnings extending into Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, authorities said. (Mike Haskey | Ledger-Enquirer via AP)

A sheriff says the death toll is now at 22 from an apparent tornado that devastated an Alabama community.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones told The Associated Press late Sunday evening that children are among the dead. He says it’s possible the death toll could continue to rise, but authorities are pausing search efforts overnight because conditions are too dangerous in the dark due to massive amounts of debris.

Jones says search and rescue teams will resume their work at first light. He added that some single-family homes are wiped clean to a slab. He has said earlier there were injuries but had no specific account of those or their severity. Authorities have blocked off the area.
The storm was one of several possible tornadoes or confirmed twisters in an outbreak springing from a severe weather front that lashed the Southeast on Sunday.

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