The death toll from the Southern twisters that struck yesterday is nearing 200.
Alabama officials have asked President Obama to expedite help:
Gov. Robert Bentley requested that President Barrack Obama expedite a catastrophic disaster declaration to assist with recovery efforts across Alabama.
This morning there were 131 confirmed deaths in 16 state counties and major damage in five more, Bentley said in a conference call with the media this morning.
“We do expect that number to rise today. In fact, we’re sure it will,” Bentley said.
Art Faulkner, director of the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, said 2,000 state National Guard soldiers have been dispatched to help with search and rescue along with recovery efforts. All resources available to the state, including air searches, are in use, he said.
ABC News lists ways to help tornado survivors:
*You can call 1-800-RED-CROSS or text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
*You can call 1-800-SAL-ARMY and donors can text “GIVE” to 80888 to make a $10 donation. Checks can be made out to the Salvation Army Disaster Relief, P.O. Box 100339, Atlanta, Ga., 30384-0339.
Alabama’s governor also has a relief fund donation page here.
Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions will be touring affected areas today and also has a relief page here.
Help send your thoughts, prayers, and aid to those in need.
Update: Word from Washington is that President Obama will fly to Alabama this weekend to meet with Gov. Bentley and tornado survivors. He is reportedly scheduled to make remarks about the storm later this afternoon.