Twisters barrel through three states

Deadly twisters lashed Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee as the South took a violent second-day assault from spring storms.

Seven people were reported killed in Mississippi and as many as six were reported killed in Alabama, although only two had been confirmed and the total was uncertain Monday night. Two deaths in Tennessee were confirmed early Tuesday after a tornado touched down there.

The storms come one day after tornadoes killed 17 people across central and southern parts of the nation. Most of Sunday's deaths were in Arkansas, with one death each in Oklahoma and Iowa.

Athens, Ala., spokeswoman Holly Hollman said the Limestone County sheriff's department reported two deaths from a twister that hit a mobile home park west of the town. Another four people were killed from a twister southeast of town, county commissioner Bill Latimer told the Associated Press. State emergency management officials said they did not have confirmation of the deaths.

At least two people died when a powerful, 190 m.p.h. tornado slammed into Lincoln County, The Tennessean reports. Several homes were destroyed and an elementary school was damaged.

In Mississippi, seven deaths have been reported, emergency officials told reporters at a press conference with Gov. Phil Bryant. Mississippi Director of Health Protection said officials are still awaiting confirmation of those deaths from coroners.

"Obviously there has been storm damage. It's a very serious situation," Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton said, the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reported. "I am just encouraging everyone to stay inside and be weather aware. There is still a very real danger of another line coming through and people still need to be inside."

At least two restraurants were destroyed and a motel suffered extensive damage, the newspaper reported

Injuries were reported in Tupelo, a community of about 35,000 in northeastern Mississippi, and in Louisville, Miss., the seat of Winston County about 90 miles northeast of Jackson, where about 6,600 people live, Mississippi Health Department spokesman Jim Craig said.

A medical center in Louisville, Miss., suffered wind damage, with two walls knocked down, the Clarion-Ledger reported.

Thirty tornadoes were reported Sunday night and early Monday in seven states, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management revised the state's death toll to 14, down two from initial reports, according to KTHV-TV. A 15th death was later reported. There were also deaths Sunday in Iowa and Oklahoma.

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said the death toll is likely to rise as rescue teams work through the hardest-hit areas.

That includes at least 10 people were killed in the small central Arkansas community of Vilonia, north of Little Rock, by a huge twister that ripped homes from foundations and flipped cars.

One person was also killed in Oklahoma and one in Iowa.

After hitting Quapaw, the tornado moved north to Kansas and hit Baxter Springs about 5 miles away. Cherokee County, Kan., sheriff's dispatcher Josh Harvey said the tornado injured several people.

Emergency officials in Iowa said at least one person was killed by a twister in Keokuk County.

A twister also hit Baxter Springs, Kan., injured at least 25 people and destroying 60 to 70 homes and 20 to 25 businesses in the city of roughly 4,200 residents, according to Cherokee County, Kan., emergency manager Jason Allison.

At a news conference in the Philippines, President Obama sent his condolences to those affected by the tornado and promised that the federal government would help in the recovery.

"Your country will be there to help you recover and rebuild as long as it takes," Obama said.


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