The fierce 170 mph winds of the EF4 tornado that blasted southeastern Alabama on Sunday -- leaving at least 23 people dead -- were so strong they sent a billboard sign flying into a neighboring state.
The woman who found the sign shared photos of it on her property, saying she was shocked.
"I can't imagine how a sign this big could travel 20 miles during a terrible storm...slightly tattered and land on our property," Sharon Bruce Treadway Smith wrote in a Facebook post. "We got a call from my father-in-law that lives next door and couldn't believe it!"
The sign was located along U.S. 280 in Smiths Station, which was in the path of the tornado that created a trail of destruction in Lee County, Alabama that stretched about 24 miles.
National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Darden said at a news conference on Monday the "monster tornado" was the deadliest twister to hit the U.S. since May 2013, when an EF-5 killed 24 people in Moore, Oklahoma.
The storm's toll stood at 23 people dead in Beauregard, a rural community of roughly 10,000 people near the Georgia state line.
According to Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones, dozens remained missing.
"It looks almost as like someone took a giant knife and just scraped the ground. There are slabs where homes formerly stood," he said Monday.
Rescue crews using dogs and drones searched for victims amid splintered lumber and twisted metal.
"I'm not going to be surprised if we don't come up with some more deceased. Hopefully, we won't," Lee County Coroner Bill Harris told a news conference. He said the dead included almost entire families and at least three children, ages 6, 9 and 10. A post on the Lee-Scott Academy's Facebook page identified fourth-grader Taylor Thornton as being among those killed.
The Sunday tornadoes were part of a powerful storm system that also slashed its way across parts of Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.
Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency for three Georgia counties — Grady, Harris and Talbot — after more than 20 homes were destroyed by the violent weekend storms. Kemp told reporters at a news conference that Georgia had "thankfully no fatalities. Most of the injuries are not too bad. So we're blessed by that."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.