Deadly Alabama tornado had 170 mph winds, says National Weather Service

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This photo shows debris in Lee County, Ala., after what appeared to be a tornado struck in the area Sunday, March 3, 2019. Severe storms destroyed mobile homes, snapped trees and left a trail of destruction amid weather warnings extending into Georgia, Florida and South Carolina, authorities said. (WKRG-TV via AP)

BEAUREGARD, Ala. (AP) – A National Weather Service (NWS) official says a tornado that struck southeastern Alabama was an EF4 twister with wind speeds estimated at 170 mph.

Meteorologist Chris Darden with the NWS Office in Birmingham said at a Monday news conference that the Sunday storm had a path nearly 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) wide, and 24 miles (39 kilometers) long, stretching toward Georgia. He said officials on both sides of the state line are surveying the severe storm’s damage.

Darden said it was one of several tornadoes that struck southeastern Alabama. He said one was in Macon County. He also said there also was damage from an EF1 storm in Barbour County.

The Sunday tornadoes were part of a powerful storm system that also slashed its way across parts of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.

Devastating winds destroyed homes and killed at least 23 people.

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