Bloated rivers spilled across southern Mississippi yesterday, forcing thousands more people to flee flooding caused by storms that ravaged the Gulf Coast with rain, hail and tornadoes.
The death toll in Mississippi went from one to six as five bodies were recovered yesterday in flooded areas.
Meanwhile, in Houston, the chatter of chain saws pierced the air around rubble-strewn neighborhoods after three waves of tornadoes that left 10 people dead, more than 100 injured and about 1,000 families homeless.
Another tornado swept through a section of Palo Pinto County in northern Texas late yesterday, killing one person and injuring another.
In all, 33 deaths have been blamed on the southern storms since last Wednesday.
Elsewhere, a tornado ripped through an apartment complex in the southwestern Pennsylvania town of Greensburg, tearing off roofs and hurling debris a quarter of a mile. Hail the size of golf balls accompanied the storm, but no serious injuries were reported.
The worst Mississippi flooding yesterday was around Jackson, the capital. The raging Pearl River had sent about 3,000 people from their homes.
The bodies recovered yesterday included those of a young couple and their two children whose car missed a curve and plunged into flood water Saturday night, and a young woman killed Friday when her car flipped off a highway into a creek.
In San Antonio, searchers recovered the body of a 15-year-old boy who was swept away Saturday from a partially submerged bridge over a rain-swollen creek.
Weather experts said the Pearl would crest between 38.5 and 39.5 feet today, more than 10 feet above flood stage. City spokesman David Waite said that if the river exceeds 39 feet it would send water into about 250 more homes and businesses.
"We've already got more than 100 homes and businesses flooded and an estimated 3,000 people have left their homes," said Carroll Fulgham, a spokesman for the Jackson-Hinds County Emergency Operations Center.
The flooding already is the worst in Jackson since the Easter floods of April, 1979, when the river reached 42.2 feet.
The Army Corps of Engineers said more than 290,000 acres of farm land in the southern Delta were under water.
In Louisiana, the National Weather Service predicted that rivers would crest up to 10 feet above flood stage but would not pour into cities and subdivisions as they did around Christmas and in April.
The storms brought hail and heavy rains, as well as tornadoes, to southeastern Texas, and swollen creeks and rivers continued to jump their banks yesterday.
Another 1,500 families were forced from their homes in the six counties around Houston, where "the skies have cleared," Capt. Ray Vickers of the Harris County sheriff's marine division said. "We've got some flooding but there have been no major problems so far."