Four people were killed, roofs were ripped from homes and churches, and trees were torn from the earth early Saturday when a tornado hitting in the dark of night ripped through a region in southern Mississippi, officials said.

Four people died after the twister blew through the city and surrounding area, Forrest County Coroner Butch Benedict said. The twister was part of a wall of stormy weather traveling across the region, bringing with it rain and unstable conditions.

Authorities have not yet released the names of the four people who died. But at least one family had already gotten the horrific news. Monica McCarty said her father died in the same trailer park where she and her boyfriend live and her son was apparently crushed to death while in bed at her mother’s house where he lived.

Standing amid the carnage the tornado had wrought, McCarty wept as her boyfriend, Tackeem Molley, comforted her.

“They couldn’t get him out of the house. They said he was laying in the bed,” McCarty said of her son.

Molley said he and McCarty were in a trailer when the storm hit. He said he climbed out through a hole in what had either been the trailer’s roof or wall.

The search for the dead and injured continued as the sun rose. More than 40 firefighters from across Mississippi had gathered outside Hattiesburg police headquarters to do a grid search to nearby William Carey University in one of the most heavily damaged areas.

The three counties affected are Forrest, Lamar and Perry.

The National Weather Service said three to five inches of rain have already fallen, raising the risk of flooding. More rain — one to two inches — is possible.

— Associated Press