Apparent tornado kills 14 in Alabama

More than 10 dead following severe weather in the Chattahoochee Valley

Jones told the Post that some people were still missing, while others had been taken to hospital with "very serious injuries".

Sheriff Jay Jones told the Associated Press the toll could rise, but rescue efforts had to stop until dawn due to the danger of searching in the dark.

"The challenge is the sheer volume of the debris where all the homes were located", Jones told CNN.

Lee County Coroner Bill Harris said as many as 20 people are unaccounted for but cautioned that some of them might have fled the storm and haven't been able to check in with their families. "Sadly, we know that we have two known confirmed fatalities and many, many injuries".

A cell-phone tower was knocked down and blocked US route 280 in Lee County.

He says it's possible the death toll could continue to rise, but authorities are pausing search efforts overnight because conditions are too unsafe in the dark due to massive amounts of debris.

"We have historic flooding to the north and historic flooding on the Tombigbee [River], and now this storm system that just went through, and now we're getting reports of significant damage" in several neighboring counties, Hastings said. The tornadoes were part of a larger storm system that moved through southern US states.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Monday that the entire state is focused on Lee County.

He said they were still working to identify the victims who had been recovered and notify families. He estimated a path of destruction about half a mile wide stretched several miles to the east from where the tornado touched down.

The NWS had issued a tornado warning for areas including Lee County earlier on Sunday, calling on residents to: "TAKE COVER NOW!"

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The National Weather Service said one and possibly two tornadoes struck the area, with a powerful EF-4 twister with winds estimated at 170 miles per hour (274 kph) blamed for most of the destruction.

Meanwhile, about 10 inches of snow was expected to fall in the New York City area by Monday morning with the arrival of another arctic blast, prompting all schools in the city to be closed and New Jersey to declare a state of emergency.

The tornado was part of a powerful series of storms that slashed through the Deep South, resulting in several tornado warnings in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.

Televised broadcast news footage showed smashed buildings with rooftops blown away, cars overturned and debris everywhere.

President Donald Trump tweeted late Sunday, "To the great people of Alabama and surrounding areas: Please be careful and safe".

An Alabama sheriff says the death toll in an area hit hard by at least one tornado remains unchanged at 23, but officials haven't completed their searches.

"The last check I had was between six and eight injuries", Ereheim said in a phone interview. Though all appeared to be minor, one person said "his leg might be broken", according to Erenheim.

Are more tornadoes expected?

A portion of Interstate 10 on the Florida Panhandle was blocked in one direction in Walton County in the aftermath, said Don Harrigan, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Tallahassee.

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