Obama will travel to Alabama to tour storm damage, meet families

President Obama will travel to Alabama on Friday to meet with Gov. Robert Bentley (R), local officials and families impacted by the severe storms that ripped through the South. 

The White House announced Obama's trip to survey the damage Thursday after he discussed disaster relief efforts with Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Federal Emergency Management Administrator Craig Fugate.

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Tornadoes and severe storms killed at least 248 people in six states Wednesday and 162 people in Alabama.  

Obama declared an emergency in hardest-hit Alabama and authorized FEMA to “identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.”

On Thursday, Fugate will travel with Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) and other state and local officials to assess damage and ensure the state receives needed support for recovery operations, according to a statement.

The White House on Wednesday extended their “deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives” in one of the most devastating tornado outbreaks in U.S. history.

Lawmakers also reacted to the devastation. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) offered his “thoughts and prayers for those killed, injured, or who suffered loss from tornadoes and storms” via Twitter.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) also offered thoughts and prayers to those affected in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia and Virginia.

"The scenes of destruction and devastation touch the hearts of every American, and demand clear, united, and compassionate action from our nation's leaders,” she wrote in a statement released Thursday.

“All Members of Congress stand ready to support the impacted states as they assess the damage, begin to clean up cities and towns in the storms' path, recover, and rebuild homes and businesses across the region,” Pelosi added.