A tornado killed at least 14 people and caused "catastrophic" damage in the southern US state of Alabama on Sunday, a local sheriff said. According to reports, several people are missing and search operations are underway. "At this time, we have 14 confirmed fatalities," Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said in a video posted on Facebook by a journalist from a local CBS affiliate.
"Other people have been hospitalised, some with "very serious injuries", while the search is still continuing for more who are missing," Jones said.
Jones described the damage caused by the storm as "catastrophic, based on the destruction of homes that we've seen". Several homes were destroyed or damaged across a wide area of the southern US states as severe storms crossed the region. Several trees were toppled in a Florida Panhandle county and traffic was halted on several places because of debris.
The swath of destruction caused by the storm was a quarter mile (0.4 kilometres) wide and stretched for the "several miles that it travelled on the ground", according to Jones.
While the sheriff referred to a single storm, some US media outlets reported that multiple twisters had hit the county. Reports also suggest, that the threat of more tornadoes would continue for several hours.