- Associated Press - Thursday, December 1, 2016

ROSALIE, Ala. (AP) - Families picked through the rubble of destroyed homes Thursday after at least four tornadoes ripped through the northern part of the state the previous day, killing three people and flattening buildings.

Touring the damage, Gov. Robert Bentley said he was thankful the death toll wasn’t higher as he looked at obliterated homes, businesses and a day care center in Jackson and DeKalb counties.

“It’s hard to see how anyone survived,” Bentley said after seeing a destroyed mobile home where three people died.

The National Weather Service in Huntsville said at least four tornadoes hit the state early Wednesday morning.

Three people were killed and one was critically injured in the tiny town of Rosalie after an apparent EF-3 twister hit Jackson County. The tornado left a short but intense trail of destruction as it cut a path less than 2 miles long.

Jackson County Emergency Management Director Mike Ashburn said 20 homes, businesses and churches were destroyed in that county and another 46 were damaged. The tornado was the same one that touched down in Dekalb County, hitting a closed day care center in the nearby community of Ider and injuring seven people.

Survivors tried to salvage family photographs and personal items from the ruins of their homes.

Marcia Remick sniffled as she held a collection of photographs and letters she picked up in the hopes of delivering them to their owner.

“It’s just so sad. I really hope I can find the owners; I can’t imagine losing family photos and things like that,” Remick said.

Bentley said it will be several days before monetary damage assessments are complete to determine if the area qualifies for federal assistance.

“First we have to make sure people are safe and have places to live and food to eat,” Bentley said.


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