News

More severe weather rips through South, Midwest

More severe weather rips through South, Midwest

TWISTER:Fallen trees and damaged homes are seen after a tornado hit Bessemer April 29. Photo: Associated Press//Marvin Gentry

By Robbie Ward

TUPELO, Mississippi (Reuters) – At least 30 people across six states have been killed by a vicious storm system that unleashed dozens of tornadoes and was threatening to cause more damage in heavily populated regions of the U.S. South on Tuesday.

The hardest hit states have been Arkansas and Mississippi where 23 people have been killed and more than 200 injured by tornadoes over the past three days that have flattened neighborhoods, reduced homes to splinters and snapped trees like twigs.

Deaths were also reported in Oklahoma and Iowa on Sunday, and Alabama and Tennessee on Monday.

A large cluster of thunderstorms pelted Alabama, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle on Tuesday, with tornadoes likely touching down along the Alabama-Georgia state line, forecasters said.

PHOTOS: Deadly tornadoes

“The main severe threat today is down in the central and eastern Gulf Coast,” National Weather Service meteorologist Brynn Kerr said, adding there was potential for severe conditions in Tennessee and the Ohio Valley later on Tuesday.

Tens of thousands of customers along the path of the storm were without power on Tuesday morning, with the worst outages in parts of Alabama and Georgia, utility companies reported.

In western North Carolina, fire department personnel used boats to rescue people from homes and vehicles deluged overnight by flash floods.

In Arkansas, residents of central Faulkner County, where most of the damage occurred, sorted through the rubble as they tried to piece their lives back together.

“There is joy because you find something that’s not broken and then you find something that’s shattered that meant a lot,” said Terry Lee, whose home was damaged by a tornado.

Georgia Governor Nathan Deal, who declared a state of emergency late on Monday in preparation for the looming storms, said in a statement, “We’re prepared now, and we’ll be ready for recovery should we, God forbid, experience tornado damage or flooding.”

In Tupelo, Mississippi, which was hit by a tornado on Monday, police were going house to house searching for victims and trying to stem any gas leaks that could fuel fires.

Officials were also picking through the rubble in Lincoln County, Tennessee, near the Alabama state line late Monday evening, where a tornado touched down, killing two people.

One of the victims in Alabama was John Servati, 21, a member of the University of Alabama’s swim team who died in a friend’s basement when a retaining wall collapsed, a university spokeswoman said.

(Reporting by Robbie Ward in Tupelo, Mississippi; Emily LeCoz in Oxford, Mississippi; Curtis Skinner in New York; Verna Gates in Birmingham; Kevin Gray in Miami; John Peragine in Lake Lure, North Carolina; Tim Ghianni in Nashville, Tennessee; and Scott DiSavino in New York; Writing by Eric M. Johnson and Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Nick Zieminski)

Recent Headlines

in National, World

Climate plan shows U.S. ‘can change the world’

23-overlay1

The plan, which also mandates a shift to renewable energy from coal-fired electricity, is meant to put the U.S. in a strong position at international talks in Paris later this year on reaching a deal to curb global warming.

in Sports

After death of 9-year-old, no more bat boys and girls

13-overlay2

The National Baseball Congress is suspending the use of bat boys and girls during its World Series in Kansas following the death of a 9-year-old boy who was hit by a bat.

in Sports

WATCH: WWE salutes the late ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper

12-overlay1

One of the most iconic wrestlers in the history of the WWE died last week at the age of 61.

in National

More fights ahead on Planned Parenthood after Senate vote

12-overlay

Now that the Senate has derailed Republican legislation halting federal dollars for Planned Parenthood, one thing seems clear: Many on both sides think they can ring up gains from the battle.

in Sports

Stanley Cup winner Schneider new Hall of Famer

nhl

Stanley Cup winner Mathieu Schneider is among four new inductees to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.