Powerful storms, tornadoes and flash floods swept through Southern U.S. states on Wednesday, leaving
193 over 200 dead and severe structural damage in their wake. Alabama appears to have been hit the hardest, with twisters cutting "across the heart" of the Birmingham metro area destroying homes and businesses, confirmed multiple news outlets.
In the city of Tuscaloosa the mayor said sections of the city were "obliterated and its infrastructure decimated," the LA Times relayed. Alabama--along with Mississippi and Georgia--had previously declared a state of emergency within its borders and has mobilized 1,400 National Guardsmen to bolster rescue efforts. "The damage was so widespread that it'll likely be days before the full death toll and property destruction are assessed across the state," The Birmingham News reported.
In Mississippi, 32 people or more were killed from tornadoes that devastated some counties and caused widespread power outages, the state's Clarion-Ledger newspaper reported. Meteorologists told CNN that several weather conditions combined to create this particularly damaging series of storms:
"It is tornado season, but an intensive event like this only will occur maybe once or twice a year...It's very rare to have all these ingredients come together."
Photos: Here's what it looked like in Tuscaloosa, Alabama after the storms hit
The Forest Lake neighborhood on Wednesday:
Walking through the Cedar Crest neighborhood:
A wider view of the city:
Bystanders survey the damage on 15th street in the city: