President Trump to visit Alabama Friday following deadly tornadoes

Posted at 6:14 AM, Mar 08, 2019

President Donald Trump will visit Alabama on Friday, after several tornadoes devastated parts of the state earlier this week, killing 23 people.

He will travel mid-day to Lee County, which suffered the brunt of the damage.

"It's a tragic situation, but a lot of work is getting done," Trump had said earlier this week.

Many in Alabama are still digging through the rubble and mourning the deaths after 12 tornadoes struck the state on Sunday. About 30 tornadoes hammered the Southeast that day, said Chris Darden of the National Weather Service office in Birmingham.

While residents are still dealing with the aftermath, their troubles may not be over.

Another round of severe weather is possible this weekend in the Southeast, including central Alabama, CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen said Thursday.

"Areas hit hard last weekend from the storms and tornadoes will again be at risk," he said. "Damaging winds and even a few tornadoes are possible."

The strong storms will develop Saturday over Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana and move quickly east, bringing the threat for severe weather over much of the Southeast on Saturday, Hennen said.

Children snatched from father's arm during tornado

In Alabama, flags will fly at half staff until sundown Sunday in honor of the 23 people killed. They ranged in age from 6 to 89. Four of them were children, Lee County Coroner Bill Harris said.

Meanwhile, funerals will continue this week for the victims.

On Friday, a funeral will be held for the youngest tornado victim, Armando "A.J." Hernandez, Jr., age 6.

The boy was found dead after sheltering in a closet with his older brother and his father during the tornado, reported CNN affiliate WIAT. His 10-year-old brother and father are both recovering at hospitals.

"He kept a smile on his face all the time ... and he loved everybody," his grandfather Bobby Kidd said about A.J.

Kidd was last able to hang out with his grandson during his first-grade musical a week ago, he said.

"I was lucky to be off work. I got to go see it. I thank God he gave me that opportunity. It was the last few moments I got to spend with him," Kidd told the TV station.

When the tornado struck, A.J.'s father "grabbed the boys and was holding them," Kidd said. "And he said he could feel his ears start popping. The house exploded and the force of the tornado snatched both of the kids away from him."

Choking back tears, Kidd said, "We could've lost all three of them and we know there are families that lost their entire family."

The tornadoes took a deadly toll on several families.

Erroll Reese told CNN affiliate WRAL that he lost seven members of his family to the tornadoes, and that at least 30 more now are without homes. In another family, Makitha Griffin lost five loved ones to the tornadoes.

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