Death toll in storms sweeping US increases

2016-11-30 22:30
A Rosalie firefighter helps remove debris after a tornado ripped through the town. (Butch Dill, AP)

A Rosalie firefighter helps remove debris after a tornado ripped through the town. (Butch Dill, AP)

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Montgomery - Possible tornadoes have swept through parts of Alabama and Tennessee in the US, killing five people and injuring more than a dozen as heavy rains from storms moving across the South produced flooding in areas previously suffering from months of drought.

Possible tornadoes were reported across several counties in northern Alabama and southern Tennessee, said National Weather Service meteorologist Lauren Nash.

Three people were killed and one person was critically injured in a mobile home in the small northern Alabama town of Rosalie when an apparent tornado hit about midnight on Tuesday, said Jackson County Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen. The same possible tornado hit a closed day care centre in the Ider community, injuring seven people, including three children, who had left their mobile home to seek shelter there, said Anthony Clifton, DeKalb County Emergency Management Director.

Authorities said dozens of buildings had been damaged or destroyed in the state.

Months of drought

In southern Tennessee, an apparent tornado also was responsible for the death of a couple in Polk County, while an unknown number of others were injured, said Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Flener.

The storms tore through just as firefighters began to get raging wildfires in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, under control after they wiped out hundreds of buildings, including homes, and in Alabama dumped more than 51mm of rain in areas that had been parched by months of drought.

Tornadoes and hail were also reported in Louisiana and Mississippi.

National Weather Service offices in Louisiana and Alabama planned to send personnel out on Wednesday to check on possible tornadoes that occurred late Tuesday night and early on Wednesday.

Read more on:    us  |  weather

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