AP Photo/Dave Martin "Loretta Williams looks over the remains of her mother's tornado ravaged home in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Her mother, two sons and daughter survived by hiding in a closet."
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - President Barack Obama is touring storm-wracked neighborhoods and commercial sections of Tuscaloosa, Ala., and talking to survivors. He says he's "never seen devastation like this."
Obama visited a neighborhood grotesquely deformed by the twister, with uprooted trees and demolished houses. The tornado's surgery-like precision was evident at one house, its side brutally shorn off while a night stand and lamp remained intact inside. Obama said the damage was the consequence of just a few minutes of "this extraordinarily powerful storm."
Obama offered a message to Alabama residents: "We're going to make sure you're not forgotten."
The president added Alabama to a Friday travel day that is taking him on to Cape Canaveral, Fla., to see the final launch of the space shuttle Endeavour.
Officials in Hackleburg, Alabama say they need everything from body bags to portable showers and tents.
Robbin Blalock, who is coordinating medical services in Hackleburg, said there are 27 people confirmed dead in the town of about 1,500. Bodies are having to be stored in a refrigerated truck. The FBI has arrived to help search for 11 people who are still missing. And officials in the town say they need everything from body bags to portable showers, tents and flashlights.
Stanley Webb, chief agent in Marion County's drug task force, says people have looted a demolished manufacturing plant. He also says authorities had to lock up drugs from a pharmacy in a bank vault.
In the hardest-hit areas of Alabama, those whose homes are still standing are struggling with no electricity, and with little help from police who are stretched thin.
And they're frustrated by the gawkers who drive by to take a cell phone camera picture -- or even a souvenir from the wreckage to take home.