Former NCIS actress Pauley Perrette said her family is safe after powerful tornadoes ripped through Alabama Sunday.
"My [Sweet Home Alabama] All my family is safe, thank you to all who asked. My heart HURTS for all that lost so much in the #tornadoes," Perrette wrote. She added the hashtag "Pray for Alabama."
The storm was at its worst in Lee County, Alabama. A twister there caused "catastrophic" damage in Beauregard, Alabama, Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones told ABC News. According to the National Weather Service, the death toll was the highest for a tornado storm in the U.S. since 2013. Ages of the victims range from 6 to 89, and the Associated Press reported that 10 victims were from one family.
Early reports show the twister reached an EE-4 category with winds reaching an estimated 170 mph.
"This is a disaster," Beauregard resident Douglas Griffin, who lost his home, told ABC News. He said the scene was like a "bomb went off" and later added he is "blessed to be alive."
The National Weather Service said at least 12 tornadoes were reported in Alabama and another 16 in Georgia.
"You cannot fully appreciate what has happened here without walking through walking through the debris. The devastation just absolutely will take your breath away," Sen. Doug Jones said when he visited Beauregard, reports WHNT. "No matter how bad, no matter how tragic, we are resilient. We will rebound. We will rebuild and for right now, both this county, and the state, and this country, and this world, we are Beauregard strong."
Paulette, 49, was born in New Orleans, but was raised throughout the Southeast and considers town city Equity, Alabama her home. Her father, Paul Perrette, lives there and Perrette helped open a fire station there in 2016.
In an interview with CBS42 before Perrette's final NCIS episode aired in May 2018, Paul Perrette said he was proud of his daughter, especially her selflessness.
"That kid has never ever thought of herself. She gives everything she gives," Paul Perrette said. "But she's worked hard for everything she's got. She's earned every step of the way and that's why I'm proud of her, and certainly happy she's my daughter."
Perrett told WANE in 2015 she considered Alabama her home because both her father and late mother are from the state.
"...Where my dad lives, he lives in the middle of the woods in Alabama, but the piece of land that he lives on they've had since we were born," Perrette explained at the time. "So when there was any kind of holiday, Christmas, summers and all that, we were always in Alabama so it is pretty much the only solid home base that we've ever had."
Perrette played forensic scientist Abby Sciuto for the first 15 seasons of NCIS. Earlier this week, she found her first project since leaving the show, a CBS sitcom pilot called Broke, co-starring Jane The Virgin star Jaime Camil.
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