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  • 29 April 2014, 19:11

Tornadoes: Storms Wreak Havoc Across US South

A chain of tornadoes has been blamed for more than 30 deaths so far, as officials warn of further severe weather across the US South.

The latest round of tornadoes struck overnight, killing at least nine people in Mississippi.

Additional deaths were reported in Alabama and Tennessee, where tornadoes also touched down.

The powerful storm system - stretching from Oklahoma to Alabama - has led to at least 31 deaths in less than three days.

Crews in several states are picking their way through heavily damaged homes and businesses searching for survivors.

Mississippi state senator Giles Ward was among those who lost his home in Louisville.

Mr Ward said he cowered with his family in the bathroom as the tornado roared overhead, destroying his two-storey brick home and flipping his son-in-law's SUV upside down onto the patio.

He said: "For about 30 seconds, it was unbelievable. It's about as awful as anything we've gone through."

The twister also ripped holes in the roof of Louisville's Winston Medical Center, where doctors evacuated the emergency room as a precaution.

Dr Michael Henry said: "We thought we were going to be OK, then a guy came in and said, 'It's here right now.'

"Then boom ... it blew through."

A daycare centre in Louisville also found itself in the path of the tornado.

The centre's owner was killed, and one child was evacuated with serious injuries.

State Representative Michael Evans said officials did not believe any other children were inside the facility when the tornado struck.

He said: "No other parents have shown up to say, 'My child was at the daycare.'"

In northern Alabama, the coroner's office confirmed two deaths after a twister caused extensive damage west of the city of Athens.

In the college town of Tuscaloosa, officials said a University of Alabama student died when he took shelter in the basement of a home near campus and a retaining wall collapsed on him.

In Tennessee, two people were killed in a home in Lincoln County, which borders Alabama in the south of the state. Winds destroyed several other homes, as well as a middle school.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of homeowners were left without power in Alabama, Kentucky and Mississippi.

A day earlier, tornadoes ripped through parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas, killing at least 17 people.

Fifteen were killed after a half-mile-wide twister tore an 80-mile (129km) path of destruction through the suburbs of Little Rock, Arkansas.

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