Search efforts continue after tornadoes rip through Alabama, 23 dead

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Tornadoes tore through Alabama with a vengeance on Sunday.  At least 23 people were killed in the powerful storms, 3 of them were children. 

The sheriff of Lee County, Alabama said the path of destruction in Beauregard is about a mile wide and several miles long.

"Homes leveled and gone, houses moved off foundations, houses obliterated and scattered into wooded areas, cars and tractor-trailers overturned.  There was one mobile home that was wrapped around a tree,"  said Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones. 

RELATED: 23 dead, dozens missing in tornado-blasted Alabama community

Sheriff Jones told FOX 5's Denise Dillon his heart breaks for the families who have lost more than possessions. 

"The loss of life. The hurt and pain these families are going through... words cannot express," said Sheriff Jones.

Many people, like Crawford Tatum, have stories of survival. 

Tatum was in his truck, heading straight into the path of the tornado. 

"It was so black, you couldn't see. There was just rain and debris swirling... and black," said Crawford. 

He was just a couple of hundred yards away from where his son and young grandchildren were taking cover in a barn.

"They could hear all the noise, it was loud.  The tin tearing off the roof, wood crashing, metal frames coming down.  It was scary," said Tatum. 

SEE ALSO: Red Cross volunteers help residents of Central Georgia

Mary Patel sought shelter in her niece's home.

"It was a huge wind and I was praying the whole time, and all of a sudden it stopped," said Patel. 

Patel said her niece's home was spared, but when she looked out, she saw devastation all around her.  Her own home was hit by a tree, but she said she's one of the lucky ones. 

"I'm blessed, mine can be fixed, but there are a lot of lives that will never be fixed and that's what's so sad," said Patel. 

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey was in Alabama Monday afternoon.  She told FOX 5's Denise Dillon that she has heard from President Trump and he said he assured her help is on the way. 

"I told him we were working with FEMA and he promised to let FEMA know to give Alabama the A-plus treatment for the tornado victims," said Governor Ivey. 

SEE ALSO: Gov. Kemp speaks with President Trump about tornado damage