14 dead after tornadoes hit Alabama

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LEE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - Fourteen people are dead after at least two tornadoes hit Lee County Sunday afternoon, according to the Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones.

The sheriff said that number could rise, and people are still reported missing. He didn’t give any details about the locations or exact circumstances of the deaths.

The Lee County coroner said he has requested assistance from the state mortuary response team.

Earlier in the afternoon, the Lee County EMA said much of the damage was near Beauregard, and there were two confirmed fatalities in that area.

According to family members on the scene, an 8-year-old girl in Beauregard is among the dead.

EMA officials said they are still assessing the damage and injuries in the Beauregard area and lots of first responders are on the scene.

The Lee County EMA is asking residents to avoid damaged areas, especially Lee Road 38 and Lee Road 39. Also, Lee Road 166 at Lee Road 40 and Lee Road 165 at Lee Road 40 are closed and will remain closed until damage assessments are made.

Smiths Station Volunteer Fire Department Station #1 at 50 Lee Road #430, Smiths Station, AL 36877 has been designated as the area for citizens affected by the storms to seek shelter.

Lee County Schools will be closed Monday due to the storms. This doesn’t include Opelika and Auburn, which have their own school districts.

State EMA Director Brian Hastings said state personnel are assisting authorities in Lee County and helping with search and rescue efforts. He also said they are working with Verizon on cell phone issues in the area.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey has also extended the state of emergency she issued on Feb. 23 to cover the entire state.

The National Weather Service will be sending out survey teams to assess damage in Autauga, Macon, Lee, Barbour and Butler counties Monday.

Lee County is on Alabama’s eastern border and is home to Opelika and Auburn.