Storms tear through South, adding to US death toll

Written by Associated Press | Louisville(US) | Updated: Apr 30 2014, 03:48am hrs
A dangerous storm system that spawned a chain of deadly tornadoes over three days flattened homes and businesses, killing at least 31 and forcing frightened residents in more than half a dozen states to take cover and left tens of thousands in the dark today.

As the storm hopscotched across a large swath of the US, with 14 killed yesterday and 17 Sunday in a band stretching from Oklahoma to Alabama.

Forecasts showed the storm continuing to move east today, with Georgia and Alabama residents waking to sirens, howling wind and pounding rain.

Others found their loved ones missing and their homes pulverized. In Louisville, Mississippi, firefighters picked through the remains of mobile homes, searching for three people unaccounted for after a tornado tore through.

Twenty firefighters linked hands and waded through an area where wood frame homes had also been heavily damaged. Rescue workers stepped gingerly over downed power lines and trees that were snapped in half and stripped of branches.

The storm system is the latest onslaught of severe weather a day after a half-mile-(800-meter)wide tornado carved an 128-kilometer path of destruction through the suburbs of Little Rock, Arkansas, killing at least 15. Tornadoes or severe storms also killed one person each in Oklahoma and Iowa on Sunday.

In Mississippi, officials say nine people died yesterday, seven of them in hard-hit Winston County. Two others died in separate instances of vehicles being blown off roadways.

The Winston County tornado caused water damage and carved holes in the roof of a medical center, where the emergency room was evacuated yesterday.