The death toll from Wednesday's tornado outbreak across the South is now likely to top 200, with at least 131 fatalities in Alabama. Gov. Robert Bentley defends the state's preparedness.
As he commands search and rescue efforts in more than a dozen tornado-devastated Alabama counties, Gov. Robert Bentley is pushing back against the suggestion that the state – and its residents – were unprepared for what may become known as the most violent storm in Alabama history.
On Thursday, state officials expected the casualty toll to rise higher than the 131 deaths reported, as daylight allowed a more thorough search for the missing in vast areas of destruction.
Governor Bentley reminded reporters on Thursday that Alabama has a long history of deadly tornadoes. The state saw the greatest number of casualties in the 1974 "Super Tornado Outbreak," which killed 318 people across the US and Canada, with 77 perishing in Alabama. He added that "incessant" TV and radio coverage of the storm system had residents on high alert all day Wednesday. Most Alabama counties are equipped with tornado sirens, which sounded Wednesday.