BEAUREGARD, Ala. — An apparent tornado roaring across southeast Alabama killed at least 14 people and injured several others Sunday.

Dozens of emergency responders rushed to join search and rescue efforts in Lee County, Alabama, after the suspected twister touched down Sunday afternoon, springing out of a powerful storm system raking the Southeast.

“I can say that at this time we have 14 confirmed fatalities,” Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones told broadcast outlet WRBL-TV. “And again, the search continues. We still have some people that are reported missing.”

Authorities were warning that the death toll might rise in the small community of Beauregard and surrounding areas. Jones said the path of destruction stretched for miles through his rural county, and in places was about a quarter of a mile wide.

Several people in Lee County were taken to hospitals, “some of them with very serious injuries,” Jones said.

Two sheriff’s vehicles blocked reporters and others from reaching the area of greatest devastation, but debris and downed trees could be seen littering roadways into Beauregard, located about 60 miles east of Montgomery. Power was out to many homes and businesses.

“We’ve still got people being pulled out of rubble,” Lee County Coroner Bill Harris told Al.com on Sunday evening. “We’re going to be here all night.”

Outside of Lee County, no deaths were reported, said Gregory Robinson, spokesman for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. But he said crews were still surveying damage in several counties in other parts of the state.

Radar and video data showed what looked like a large tornado near Beauregard shortly after 2 p.m. Sunday, said meteorologist Meredith Wyatt with the Birmingham office of the National Weather Service.

Numerous tornado warnings had been posted across parts of Alabama, Georgia, Florida and South Carolina on Sunday afternoon as the powerful storm system moved in.

Weather officials said they confirmed other tornadoes around the region by radar alone and would send teams out early Monday to assess the situation.

In rural Talbotton, Georgia, about 80 miles south of Atlanta, a handful of people were injured by either powerful straight-line winds or a tornado that destroyed several mobile homes and damaged other buildings, said Leigh Ann Erenheim, director of the Talbot County Emergency Management Agency.

Televised broadcast news footage showed smashed buildings with rooftops blown away, cars overturned and debris everywhere. Trees all around had been stripped bare.

“The last check I had was between six and eight injuries,” Erenheim said in a phone interview. “From what I understand it was minor injuries, though one fellow did say his leg might be broken.”

Authorities said a tornado was confirmed by radar in the Florida Panhandle late Sunday afternoon.

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