Among the victims for whom memorial services are planned in the coming days are three students of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. The area has emerged as the focal point for the Wednesday disaster that swept through six southern states and has killed 342 people so far.
According to the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, at least 45 people people died during the storms in Tuscaloosa County, more than in any of the other five southern states that recorded deaths from Wednesday's violent weather.
By early Saturday morning, emergency management officials tallied 254 deaths in Alabama, 34 in Tennessee, 33 in Mississippi, 15 in Georgia, 5 in Virginia and 1 in Arkansas.
Hundreds are unaccounted for in Tuscaloosa alone, though not all have been officially reported missing.
"We're hopeful and prayerful that a large majority of that is just duplicates within our dispatch system," Tuscaloosa Mayor Walter Maddox said. "However, we are putting cadaver dog teams through the city in a frantic search to find everyone that is accounted for." (read more)