BEAUREGARD, Ala. (WIAT) — Severe weather ripped through Alabama, Sunday. This morning, the search for survivors start after a powerful tornado marched across Lee County Sunday afternoon. At least 23 people are dead, many others hurt.
Rita Smith of the Lee County EMA, explained, “In a community like Beauregard, Alabama, and Smiths Station, Alabama, when you lose this many people in a natural disaster it is very heartbreaking and it is very unnerving, and even our first responders who are great at what they do- it is hard.”
President Donald Trump took to twitter about the tornadoes that hit Alabama Sunday afternoon, saying in part,
“To the great people of Alabama and surrounding areas — please be careful and safe. To the families and friends of the victims, and to the injured, God bless you all!”
Also in response to Sunday’s tornadoes, Gov. Kay Ivey has extended the state of emergency. The governor first issued that state of emergency back on February 23 for parts of North and Central Alabama following severe weather and flooding, but it has now been declared for the entire state.
Ivey released a statement saying,
“Our hearts go out to those who lost their lives in the storms that hit Lee County. Praying for their families and everyone whose homes or businesses were affected.”
Governor Ivey also tweeted that she request assistance from President Trump following the weekend tornadoes.
Alabama’s Senate and House Democrats released a statement on the southeastern Alabama deadly tornadoes that killed 23 people.
“Tornadoes that ripped through southeast Alabama Sunday afternoon have left a devastating effect in Barbour and Lee counties. The loss of lives continues to rise during search and rescue efforts in Lee County. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who lost loved ones in Lee County and to those who suffered property damages in Lee and Barbour counties. The paths of destruction are devastating and it will take time for our lives to get back to normal. We appreciate Gov. Ivey declaring a state of emergency for Alabama so that we can get the needed resources in place in hopefully a timely manner.”
Sen. Billy Beasley, D-Clayton (Barbour County, Bullock County, Henry County, Houston County, Macon County and Russell County)
“On behalf of the Senate Minority Caucus, I would like to express our sincerest condolences to the families who are dealing with the loss of a loved one and the loss of property. We are working with Gov. Kay Ivey’s office and urging her to seek federal funds to help make these communities whole. “
Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro (Choctaw County, Greene County, Hale County, Marengo County, Pickens County, Sumter County and Tuscaloosa County)
Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL) delivered remarks in the Senate in the wake of the deadly Alabama tornadoes urging Congress to support long-term recovery needs.
“My heart goes out to all the folks who have lost loved ones and who have suffered damage to their homes and their businesses, and I ask that everyone pray for their comfort and healing. I also want to thank the courageous first responders who put their lives on the line time and time again to help folks in need.”
“In the days ahead, I’m going to be working closely with colleagues here in the Senate to secure federal disaster funding that includes Lee County, Alabama….We have also been in touch with Governor Ivey and other local officials about how we in the Senate can best help. And as the dust settles, we will be down there to make sure that our offices do what is necessary to help those fine people.”
Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL)
Senator Jones has been a strong advocate for disaster recovery funding for Alabama and recently led the introduction of a $13.6 billion bipartisan disaster relief package that included resources for farmers whose crops were devastated by Hurricane Michael.