BBC News:- At least 23 people have been killed as tornadoes struck Lee County in eastern Alabama, authorities say.
County Sheriff Jay Jones said there had been “catastrophic” damage and there were fears more bodies would be found. Dozens are thought to have been hurt.
Rescue efforts have been halted until dawn due to the danger of searching in the dark.
The most devastating tornadoes struck the area around Beauregard, carving a path at least half a mile (0.8km) wide.
The National Weather Service (NWS) made a classification of at least EF-3 – meaning winds of up to 165mph (266km/h).
The area around Beauregard, about 60 miles (95km) east of Alabama’s state capital, Montgomery, appears to have borne the brunt. The tornadoes there struck at about 14:00 (20:00 GMT) on Sunday.
Footage showed snapped poles, roads littered with debris and houses without roofs.
Sheriff Jones said some homes had been reduced to slabs. Authorities fear the death toll could rise.
Local resident Scott Fillmer said: “Everything just kind of went dark, when it was almost like night outside. And it’s that old cliché that it sounds like a freight train coming, well that’s what it sounded like.”
Residents of Smiths Station told local TV they had seen businesses destroyed there. A large bar called the Buck Wild Saloon had had its roof torn off.
homes were located. It’s the most I’ve seen that I can recall.”
Tornado warnings were also issued for Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. Footage showed smashed buildings and snapped trees in Talbotton, about 80 miles south of Atlanta.
Tornadoes were also reported in Walton County and Cairo in northern Florida.
All of the deaths so far have been in Lee County. Authorities say they are still working to identify the victims and the injured.
One of the dead in Beauregard was an eight year old, family members said.
“We’ve never had a mass fatality situation, that I can remember, like this in my lifetime,” Lee County coroner Bill Harris said.