Death toll rises as tornadoes continue to terrorize South and Midwest

Twisters continued terrorizing parts of the Midwest and South on Monday night and early Tuesday, killing at least 11 people and bringing the unofficial two-day death toll to about 28, the Associated Press reported. More tornadoes that could be more destructive could strike Tuesday.

The area under watches and warnings spans northern Georgia through parts of Florida and into Alabama.

Six people died in Winston County, Miss., on Monday, including a woman who was killed inside the day care center she owned in Louisville, county coroner Scott Gregory told the AP late Monday.

The day after deadly storms left trails of destruction across the southern United States, weather forecasters predict the tornado threat could last for several days more. (Reuters)

 

In southern Tennessee, two were killed in a home when a tornado struck on Monday night, Lincoln County Emergency Management Director Mike Hall said. The winds destroyed several other homes and a middle school as well in the county that borders Alabama, he said.

But Arkansas suffered some of the worst damage on Sunday when a half-mile-wide tornado carved an 80-mile path through the suburbs of Little Rock. At least 15 died.

Monday night, thousands were hunkered down in basements or combing through wreckage. Millions lacked power because of snapped utility poles and downed power lines.

Those who did have power, or at least battery life left in smartphones, communicated via Twitter, sharing information, prayers and sometimes condolences. “Please pray for my brother … one of his close friends in Tuscaloosa died tonight.” “Tornado just hit Montgomery. Lord I pray for protection in the mist of the storm.” “Mass damage to the town, pray/send help in coming days.”

Reports of damage early Tuesday morning remained incomplete, but here’s a state-by-state summary so far:

In Alabama:

On Monday, Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley declared a state of emergency for all counties as tornadoes tore through the state, causing multiple deaths and damage. The storms hit nearly three years to the day of the deadly tornado outbreak that killed nearly 250 in 2011, according to the Birmingham Business Journal.

In Arkansas:

On Sunday, at least 15 people were killed by a tornado that slammed Vilonia and Mayflower. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported: “The tornado that left a path of immense destruction through part of central Arkansas Sunday reduced structures to rubble with a force Gov. Mike Beebe says he can’t recall seeing before.” A video of the news conference is posted the newspaper’s Web site.

In Georgia: On Monday, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency as severe storms rolled into Georgia. The Atlantic Journal Constitution reported that heavy rain, strong winds and isolated tornadoes are possible Tuesday morning.

In Iowa: On Sunday, one person was killed when strong winds took down a building in a rural area near Kinross, according to KCCI-TV. One was critically injured when a barn blew over and at least four others were hurt when they were hit by flying debris.

In Kansas: On Sunday, a tornado rolled through Baxter Springs, injuring 34 people and destroying about 100 homes and businesses, according to KMBC-TV.

In Louisiana:

On Monday, a suspected tornado touched down in rural northwest Louisiana, injuring a teenager and heavily damaging his home, the AP reported. Several other people in the home were not injured. People reported minor damage on Twitter.

In Mississippi:

On Monday, six people died in Winston County. People posted photos on Twitter of damage on US 49.

In Missouri:

On Sunday, a tornado was captured on live TV by a Fox News helicopter south of Kansas City. The Missouri Highway Patrol reported a tractor-trailer had blown over east of Kansas City, according to Fox News. No one was injured.

In Oklahoma:

On Monday, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin declared a state of emergency for Ottawa County after a tornado hit Quapaw. News 9 reported at least one person was killed and the city’s fire station was destroyed.

In Tennessee: 

On Monday, a powerful tornado with winds reaching 190 m.p.h. hit Lincoln County, killing at least two people, according to The Tennessean. A handful of minor injuries were also reported. The tornado destroyed homes and damaged an elementary school.

Lindsey Bever is a national news reporter for The Washington Post. She writes for the Morning Mix news blog. Tweet her: @lindseybever

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