The Latest on Deep South storms (all times local):
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.
President Donald Trump has tweeted to Alabama residents to be safe in the wake of deadly storms, including an apparent tornado that has claimed several lives in that Southern state.
Trump wrote in the tweet Sunday evening: “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.”
His tweet concluded: “To the families and friends of the victims, and to the injured, God bless you all!”
Authorities in southwest Georgia are searching door to door in darkened neighborhoods after a possible tornado touched down in the rural city of Cairo.
Cairo City Manager Chris Addleton said office and commercial buildings in the downtown had windows blown out and metal roofs torn off by the storm Sunday evening. He said some residents reported being stuck inside homes that were damaged or had trees on them.
There were no immediate reports of serious injuries in the community, 33 miles (about 50 kilometers) north of the Florida capital of Tallahassee.
Electricity was out. Addleton said the full extent of the damage likely wouldn’t be known until daylight.
The National Weather Service Weather says an outbreak of tornadoes swept a wide area of the Deep South on Sunday as severe storms crossed the region.