The Latest on Deep South storms (all times local):

7:30 p.m.

Authorities are blocking traffic to some of the most heavily damaged areas in an Alabama county where the sheriff says at least 14 people are confirmed dead.

Patrol vehicles from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office could be seen by an Associated Press reporter as the vehicles blocked Highway 51 into downtown Beauregard. Closer to the devastation, emergency vehicles including ambulances, with lights flashes, were scattered all around. One trained canine had been brought into the area to help the operations.

The area was dark and electricity appeared to be knocked out in many places late Sunday. Pieces of metal debris and tree branches littered the roadside. It was not raining after the storms rolled eastward into Georgia and toward the Carolinas.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones told media outlets Sunday that at least 14 deaths had been confirmed in the county and some others are reported missing.

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. (Mike Haskey/Ledger-Enquirer via AP)

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7 p.m.

An Alabama sheriff says at least 14 people are dead amid “catastrophic” damage from a possible tornado and others are missing as crews search through wreckage and debris.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones told WRBL-TV on Sunday that damage in his community followed a path several miles (kilometers) long and appeared up to a fourth of a mile (.4 kilometers) wide.

Jones said: “I can say that at this time we have 14 confirmed fatalities. And again, the search continues. We still have some people that are reported missing.” He didn’t elaborate on the exact number of those missing.

He adds that several people have been taken to hospitals, “some of them with very serious injuries.”

Weather officials say an outbreak of tornadoes occurred Sunday afternoon across a wide area of the Southeast as severe storms crossed the region.

This photo shows debris in Lee County, Ala., 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. (WKRG-TV via AP)

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6:20 p.m.

An Alabama coroner says he expects the number of deaths from a possible tornado to rise as search crews comb through rubble and debris.

Lee County Coroner Bill Harris told Al.com on Sunday evening that two people are confirmed dead in Beauregard, Alabama, but he expects more bodies to be found.

Harris says: “We’ve still got people being pulled out of rubble. We’re going to be here all night.”

Alabama Emergency Management Agency spokesman Gregory Robinson says no deaths have been reported in the state beyond Lee County, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of Montgomery. But Robinson says teams are still assessing damage in several Alabama counties.

Weather officials say an outbreak of tornadoes occurred Sunday afternoon across a wide area of the Southeast as severe storms crossed the region.

Emergency responders work in the scene amid debris in Lee County, Ala., 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. (WKRG-TV via AP)

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6:10 p.m.

The National Weather Service says it has confirmed a tornado by radar that has toppled trees in a Florida Panhandle county, halting traffic on a stretch of Interstate 10 in one direction because of debris.

Meteorologist Don Harrigan with the Tallahassee office of the weather service tells The Associated Press that the tornado hit about 5:45 p.m. Sunday in Walton County in the DeFuniak Springs area. He says radar shows debris was lofted into the air and he was getting reports of trees down in Walton County and eastbound traffic disrupted at Mile Marker 83 on I-10 in the area.

He says the Tallahassee office confirmed other tornadoes on radar in Geneva County in southeast Alabama, just across the line from north Florida. And he says another radar-confirmed tornado was detected in Henry County, Alabama, moving into a neighboring county.

Harrigan says a squall line moving across the Southeast is entering an area of strong, low-level winds that is conducive to forming tornadoes. He says the threat of more tornadoes will continue for several hours as the storm system races toward the Atlantic seaboard.

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