Trump declares tornado site disaster area

iHeartMedia's Alabama Region President Ray Quinn says hearts are heavy following the disastrous tornadoes that took place on Sunday.

Meanwhile, two corporations are stepping in to pay for the funerals of all 23 tornado victims in Alabama.

Jackie Jones said she and her siblings rushed to her parents' house after the storm passed and nobody answered the phone. He also planned to thank first responders. But in just three months, she had made multiple friends-some of whom quickly grew close to her, according Cox.

The tornado was an EF4 with winds estimated at 170mph and carved a path of destruction up to nine-tenths of a mile wide in Alabama, scraping up the earth in a phenomenon known as "ground rowing", the National Weather Service said. "They all ended up, with the exception of two, outside the residence", Harris told reporters.

"We're stronger together", Ivey said.

There are fears that the death toll will rise. She said her son-in-law later dug them out. The family members got out just in time, but Bugsy the cat was inside.

Volunteers reporting to help in Lee County were being given protective gear before fanning out to help clear storm debris from roads while survivors combed through the remains of shattered homes for any family photos, clothing and other belongings they could salvage. "We're basically using everything we can get our hands on", the sheriff said.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit the hardest-hit areas in Alabama on Friday. A third tornado, classified as at least an EF1, traveled from Macon County into Lee County.

Beauregard resident Carol Dean told how she had found her wedding dress and a Father's Day note to her husband among the wreckage, reading: "Daddy, I love you to pieces".

"Thousands of Alabamians are suffering and in need of our staunch support as they work to rebuild their homes and businesses", Shelby tweeted earlier Tuesday.

Auburn is now working with local authorities to plan more ways to aid in relief efforts, according to athletic director Allen Greene and basketball coach Bruce Pearl - who said he lives near one of the hardest-hit areas.

Forecasters ranked the worst of the outbreak at step four of the six-step Enhanced Fujita scale of tornado strength.

Around Beauregard, an unincorporated area of roughly 10,000 people near the Georgia state line, mobile homes tucked among tall pine trees were swept from their bases and smashed into unrecognizable piles of rubble.

Three of the tornadoes were categorized as EF-1, but the Beauregard-Smiths station in Lee County was an EF-4 with winds of 170 miles per hour.

iHeart stations in Birmingham, Auburn, Gadsden and Tuscaloosa are partnering with the Alabama Broadcasting Association for the iHeartRadio Lee County Tornado Relief, a disaster relief fundraiser benefiting Community Foundation of East Alabama's Long-Term Recovery Fund.

  • Jon Douglas