President Trump is visiting Alabama today where a deadly tornado hit Sunday. The powerful EF-4 storm tore through the rural countryside with 170 mph winds leaving 23 people dead.
— Stephanie Grisham (@StephGrisham45) March 8, 2019
Three of the people who were killed were children ages 6, 9, and 10. One family lost seven people. The number of those killed by the massive twister is more than double the total number of tornado-related deaths in the United States in 2018 alone.
"It's been a tragic situation. But a lot of good work is being done," Trump said during a veterans event at the White House before heading to Alabama.
During his visit to the tornado zone, a reporter noted that the president was signing Bibles for "volunteers and survivors at a Baptist church."
President Trump is signing bibles for volunteers and survivors at a Baptist church in Alabama. pic.twitter.com/9b8VfyZiKF
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) March 8, 2019
Since the disaster struck, President Trump has been in coordination with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Alabama's Gov. Kay Ivey (R) to assist the situation.
"FEMA has been told directly by me to give the A Plus treatment to the Great State of Alabama and the wonderful people who have been so devastated by the tornadoes," tweeted Trump. "@GovernorKayIvey, one of the best in our Country, has been so informed. She is working closely with FEMA (and me!)."
FEMA has been told directly by me to give the A Plus treatment to the Great State of Alabama and the wonderful people who have been so devastated by the Tornadoes. @GovernorKayIvey, one of the best in our Country, has been so informed. She is working closely with FEMA (and me!).
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2019
"President Trump has been very gracious and pledged his unwavering support to Alabama since the devastating storms and tornadoes struck Alabama over the weekend," stated Gov. Ivey. "This is a difficult time for the state of Alabama, but knowing that we have this additional assistance, and the support of our president and folks across the country, we will get through this together. We will recover, and we will lift up Lee County in this time of need."
The tornado was part of a storm system that also traveled through parts of Florida, South Carolina, and Georgia. The results were catastrophic as the twister stretched four times wider than the average tornado. The National Weather Service stated the twister was stronger than any that hit the US in 2018. It was on the ground for a total of 70 miles (26 in Alabama and 44 in Georgia), making it 20 times more lasting than the average 3.5-mile tornado.
"It looks almost as if someone took a giant knife and just scraped the ground," Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones told USA Today. "There are slabs where homes normally stood."
Operation Blessing is on the ground with a team of disaster relief experts and a convoy of equipment. The international organization has helped victims like Barbara Rowan. She was not home when the storm hit and believes her life was spared. Operation Blessing prayed with her and helped her sort through and clean up debris. Rowan was overwhelmed with emotion from the love of Jesus that was shown.
"Our team is so thankful that the donors and supporters for Operation Blessing have provided the opportunity to go and meet needs caused not only this impact but other things that occurring on regular basis throughout our country," stated Anthony Lloyd, senior director of Operation Blessing's US Disaster Relief.
"Please be praying for us as we go and meet those needs to be the hands and feet of Jesus not only in Alabama but out in California, and till this day, in Lumberton, North Carolina," he added, referring to the wildfire and hurricane recovery efforts that are still ongoing from 2018.
Operation Blessing is expected to be in the tornado zone over the next couple of weeks to serve those affected. For more information on how you can help the survivors with your donations, visit OB.org.
Meteorologists have warned another wave of severe weather could hit the region in the coming days.