tornado damage lee county alabama
Tornado damage in Lee County on March 3, 2019
More than 10 people are dead after at least two tornadoes hit Lee County Sunday afternoon, according to the Lee County sheriff.

The sheriff didn't give any details about the locations or 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 the worst 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. There is also damage reported on Lee Road 430.

According to the Alabama Department of Transportation, there is debris on Highway 431 in both directions before Interstate 85 in Smiths Station. The road is closed, and drivers should take an alternate route.

Smiths Station Volunteer Fire Department Station #1 at 50 Lee Rd #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.

At 4:00 p.m., approximately 10,400 Alabama Power customers are without service in central Alabama as a result of severe weather. Damage reports include broken poles and downed wire as a result of fallen trees and limbs.

Where safe to do so, crews are actively involved in the power restoration process. Power has been restored to more than 3,500 customers within the past hour. At present, power outages are concentrated in the following areas:
  • Lee County - 6,700 customers
  • Bullock County - 2,300 customers
  • Montgomery - 680 customers
  • Greenville - 480 customers
  • Tallassee - 120 customers
Fewer outages are widely scattered in Autauga, Chilton, Elmore, and Wilcox Counties.

WSFA 12 News has reporters going to the area, and we are working to get additional information.

We are starting to see images from the area on social media:

This is a developing story and will be updated.

6:10 p.m.: The Associated Press reports the squall system is still active and moving eastward

The National Weather Service says it has confirmed a tornado by radar that has toppled trees in a Florida Panhandle county, halting traffic on a stretch of Interstate 10 in one direction because of debris.

Meteorologist Don Harrigan with the Tallahassee office of the weather service tells The Associated Press that the tornado hit about 5:45 p.m. Sunday in Walton County in the DeFuniak Springs area. He says radar shows debris was lofted into the air and he was getting reports of trees down in Walton County and eastbound traffic disrupted at Mile Marker 83 on I-10 in the area.

He says the Tallahassee office confirmed other tornadoes on radar in Geneva County in southeast Alabama, just across the line from north Florida. And he says another radar-confirmed tornado was detected in Henry County, Alabama, moving into a neighboring county.

Harrigan says a squall line moving across the Southeast is entering an area of strong, low-level winds that is conducive to forming tornadoes. He says the threat of more tornadoes will continue for several hours as the storm system races toward the Atlantic seaboard.