BEAUREGARD, Alabama — Cousins Cordarrly Jones and Demetria Jones have a hard time counting all the relatives they lost to a monster tornado that wiped out a rural community in Alabama.
Their grandparents, 89-year-old Jimmy Jones and 83-year-old Mary Louise Jones, were killed in their home on a two-lane road where most everyone shares family ties.
The couple’s son Emmanuel Jones, a 53-year-old uncle to the cousins, is gone too. Also dead, they said, were seven cousins by both blood and marriage: Eric Jamal Stenson, 38; Florel Tate Stenson; 63; Henry Lewis Stenson; 65; James Henry Tate, 86; Tresia Robinson, 62; Raymond Robinson Jr., 63; and Maggie Delight Robinson, 57.
Stunned by the loss of 10 relatives and worried about still more who are hospitalized with serious injuries, the cousins stood Tuesday amid the wreckage of a row of family homes in tiny Beauregard, near the Georgia state line.
“It really hasn’t fully hit me yet. I’m still trying to process it,” said Cordarrly Jones, 29.
“Everybody in this area just about was related,” said Demetria Jones, 28. “It’s devastating.”
With winds of as much as 170 mph (275 kph), the deadliest U.S. tornado in nearly six years rolled mobile homes across fields and caused even brick homes to collapse into unrecognizable heaps. At least 23 people were killed, some of them children. The full scale of the loss came into focus with the release of the names of the dead. The youngest victim was 6, the oldest 89.