OPELIKA, Ala. (AP) -- An east Alabama community marked the two-year anniversary of a tornado that killed 23 people and injured scores more with ceremonies and other remembrances on Wednesday.
A list of names will be read during a noontime event at the Lee County courthouse square in Opelika to recall the people who died when the twister hit the Beauregard community on March 3, 2019. A moment of silence was planned in the town of Smiths Station, and a candlelight memorial was organized at a church that served as a relief center.
"We just want to honor those that are gone and recognize those families that we know are still hurting and grieving even two years later," said Rita Smith, the county emergency management director.
A tornado with winds estimated at 170 mph (273 kph) struck rural Lee County, destroying dozens of homes and killing multiple members of some families. About 90 people were injured, and rebuilding continues in the area, where the tornado gouged out a path of destruction almost 27 miles (43 kilometers) long.
A memorial to victims of the tornado was erected at Providence Baptist Church, where the candlelight vigil will be held. It also honors the first responders and the people who volunteered in the aftermath of the storm, which also caused extensive damage in west Georgia.