Tornado (stock image)
Tornado (stock image)iStock

At least 23 people were killed Sunday, after a string of tornadoes pummeled the border area between Georgia and Alabama.

More than a dozen tornadoes touched down in the two states Sunday afternoon, including a pair of back-to-back tornadoes which both ravaged Lee County in Alabama within one hour of each other.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones said the area had suffered “catastrophic” damage. The sheriff initially reported 14 people dead with more missing, before the death toll was revised upward to 23.

"We have a pretty significant area of damage," Jones told CNN, adding that one tornado had carved a path of destruction half a mile wide and several miles long through the county.

County coroner Bill Harris said Sunday’s tornadoes constituted the deadliest disaster in Lee County history.

“This is a day of destruction for Lee County. We’ve never had a mass fatality situation, that I can remember, like this in my lifetime,” Harris said according to KTRE.

Harris said the dead ranged in age from small children to older adults.

An eight-year-old girl was identified as one of the victims.

In Talbotton, Georgia, 15 buildings were destroyed, including a number of private homes and an apartment building, when a tornado ripped through town.

In addition to the 23 registered fatalities, dozens of victims were injured. More than 40 people were treated at East Alabama Medical Center for injuries related to the tornadoes, with additional injuries reported elsewhere in Alabama and in Georgia.