As President Obama toured some of the hardest hit areas in Alabama on Friday, the death toll from Wednesday’s severe weather outbreak across the Southeastern United States continued to climb. As of now (11:00 PM EDT), there are 318 people dead including 238 in Alabama, 34 in Mississippi, 34 in Tennessee, and 15 in Georgia. Of the number of dead in Alabama, 45 are dead in Tuscaloosa, which was among the hardest hit communities.
Nearly 1,000 people are injured in the home of the University of Alabama with another 446 or so that are missing or unaccounted for. Statewide, there were some 1,700 injuries from the storms. The monster tornado that struck Tuscaloosa is estimated to be at least an EF4 twister on the Enhanced Fujita scale. It may even be an EF5. Winds were estimated to be at least 200 miles per hour in the storm.
The numbers of dead may continue to climb with the number that are injured, and missing. According to an article in the Washington Post, this latest tornado outbreak was the deadliest in United States history. It was perhaps the most violent severe weather outbreak since the historic one in April 1974 that affected many of the same areas in the South. In nearby Mississippi, a monster tornado with 205 mile per hour winds struck the Northeastern town of Smithville, and it was officially declared an EF5 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita Scale.
Twisters even struck as far north as Washington D.C. while some severe weather even affected the Garden State. While there were several tornado warnings issued in New Jersey on Thursday, nothing materialized, but there were several thunderstorms that produced 60 mile per hour winds and uprooted trees in parts of Morris County. The severe weather outbreak lasted three days, and produced 1658 total storm reports including 301 tornadoes, 498 incidents of hail, and 859 of high winds according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.