Search for tornado victims continues

SMITHS STATION, Ala. (NBC News) – At least 23 people are dead following a string of deadly tornadoes ripped through eastern Alabama late Sunday night.

The National Weather Service confirmed Monday that an EF4 twister with winds up to 170-miles-an-hour cut a path a mile wide and more than 20-miles long.

“When you see the devastation it’s just hard to fathom that something could be this powerful,” says Alabama Emergency Management Director Brian Hastings.

As crews clear away what they can, rescue teams continue their search in the hardest hit areas. Several people are still unaccounted for.

“Sifting through piles of debris where they may be people or animals or such as that there. So we haven’t given up hope we’re still searching,” says Opelika Fire Chief Byron Prather.

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