President Barack Obama - who will tour an area in Alabama devastated by fierce and deadly storms on Friday - signed a major disaster declaration for Alabama on Thursday, a move which authorizes federal funds for the state to deal with the aftermath of deadly storms that have killed 305 people.

Obama's the declaration authorizes federal funding for affected individuals in eight counties, including hardest hit Tuscaloosa.

Obama will view the damage and meet with Gov. Robert Bentley, as well as state and local officials and their families.

The help can include assistance for housing, repairs, loans and other recovery programs, the White House said in a released statement

The state of Alabama and eligible local governments and some nonprofits can receive some funding on a cost-sharing basis. The funds can be used for debris removal and emergency protective measures. Funding will also be available for hazard mitigation measures.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has named Joe M. Girot as the head of FEMA operations in the area.

More assistance may be given after assessments are completed.