President Obama is scheduled to tour Alabama today after severe storms and tornadoes wreaked havoc this week, killing at least 200 in that state alone. On Wednesday night, Obama declared a state of emergency in Alabama and later described the damage as "nothing short of catastrophic." His trip has already been billed as the first "major test" of the Federal Emergency Management Agency under the current administration.
FEMA head Craig Fugate is already in the state and has emphasized that the agency's role in the recovery will be "a support role" with the majority of the assistance, search and rescue being handled by local authorities and the 1,400 Alabama National Guardsmen who've been mobilized by Gov. Bentley.
Wednesday's deadly tornadoes were classified by National Weather Service meteorologists as the deadliest since 1932. Tuscaloosa, a Birmingham suburb, was hit particularly hard as weather conditions combined to form a "supercell thunderstorm" that caused "total devastation," according to one resident interviewed by a local Fox affiliate. Video of the enormous Tuscaloosa tornado is below:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.