tornadoes

Updated 12:15 p.m. ET Monday

Rescuers in eastern Alabama combed through the debris from homes ripped apart by powerful tornadoes that swept through the area on Sunday, killing at least 23 people.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones confirmed to media outlets Sunday the number of dead. He told The Associated Press late Sunday evening that children are among the dead, and that it is possible that the death toll could continue to rise.

Lee County is located in the east central part of the state, along the border with Georgia.

Teresa Frontado / WLRN

Authorities are still assessing damage in Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties after two tornadoes touched ground early Monday morning. 

Two crews from the National Weather Service in Miami inspected damage in South Florida -- one in Miami-Dade County in Hialeah and Miami Springs, the second in Palm Beach County near Palm Beach and Juno Springs. 

Watches and warnings were issued Sunday, but some civilians were caught by surprise as the storm crept up on them early Monday morning. 

A single tornado can cause a lot of damage. But even worse are tornado outbreaks. Just this week, a cluster of at least 18 tornadoes struck the Southeast over two days.

Scientists are seeing bigger clusters in recent years, and they're struggling to figure out what's happening.