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Dozens missing in Alabama after storm that spawned 6 tornadoes

By
Clyde Hughes

March 5 (UPI) -- Authorities said Monday dozens of people were still missing in Alabama, two days after a series of tornadoes killed at least 23.

About 200 law enforcement officers were searching for victims and survivors. They sifted through debris where tornadoes devastated structures in Lee County, Ala. Crews used K-9 units and helicopters from various state agencies to help with the search.

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Authorities have not given a specific number of those missing.

Police said at least three children were killed in the tornadoes. About 50 people were injured.

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Teams from the National Weather Service in Birmingham, Ala., confirmed Monday that six tornadoes touched down in southeast Alabama -- four rated EF-1, one EF-2 and the twister in Lee County, rated at EF-4.

"I've not seen this type of level of destruction ever in my experience here in Lee County, and that covers a span back for at least 50 years," Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones told reporters. "This is a very tight-knit community. These people are tough, they're resilient people. And it's knocked them down, but they'll be back."

The deaths are the most from a twister since an EF-5 tornado killed 24 people in Moore, Okla., in 2013. One Alabama tornado packed 170-mph winds and was nearly a mile wide. Officials said it traveled 24 miles and damaged parts of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

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Schools in Lee County remained closed Tuesday for the second straight day. Most of the schools' major structures were not damaged by the storm, but other problems and a lack of electricity remained.

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