Church group hunkers in sanctuary during storms

Tornado (Photo: CBS News/ Scott Peake)

BEAUREGARD, AL (AP) — The Latest on the tornado that killed more than 20 people in Alabama (all times local):

7 a.m.

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About 150 people hunkered down together in a Baptist church and sang songs as deadly storms moved through the Southeast.

The State newspaper quotes staff members of the Red Bank Baptist Church in Lexington County, South Carolina, as saying that children sang “Jesus Loves Me” during a regular Sunday night service as storms moved through the central part of the state.

One said the group moved from the sanctuary to a long hall during the storm, which knocked a column down in the front of the building and damaged another.

Derrec Becker with the South Carolina Emergency Management Division said no deaths or serious injuries have been reported in the state because of the storms.

About 8,000 lost power. A strong tornado that was part of the storm system tore through southeast Alabama on Sunday, killing at least 23 people.


5 a.m.

Authorities plan to resume an intense ground search Monday amid devastation from a deadly tornado that rampaged through southeast Alabama, killing at least 23 people.

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

The number of deaths in hard-hit Lee County was so high that coroner Bill Harris told The Associated Press he had to call in help from the state because there were more bodies than his four-person office can handle.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones says drones flying overheard equipped with heat-seeking devices had scanned the area for survivors but the dangerous conditions halted the search late Sunday.

Jones said the twister traveled straight down a county road in the rural community of Beauregard.

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