TUPELO, Miss. — Tornadoes flattened homes and businesses, flipped trucks over on highways and bent telephone poles into 45-degree angles as they barreled through Alabama and Mississippi on Monday, part of a storm system that killed at least 11 people in the South and brought the overall death toll from two days of severe weather in the country to at least 28.
Tens of thousands of customers were without power in Alabama, Kentucky, and Mississippi, and thousands more hunkered down in basements and shelters as The National Weather Service issued watches and warnings for more tornadoes throughout the night in Alabama.
Weather satellites from space showed tumultuous clouds arcing across much of the South over the course of the day Monday.
The system is the latest onslaught of severe weather a day after a half-mile-wide tornado carved an 80-mile path of destruction through the suburbs of Little Rock, Ark., killing at least 15. Tornadoes or severe storms also killed one person each in Oklahoma and Iowa on Sunday.
Six people died in Winston County, Miss., including a woman who perished in the day care center she owned in Louisville, county Coroner Scott Gregory told The Associated Press late Monday. Louisville is the county seat and home to about 6,600 people.
It was unclear if any children were in the day care center at the time, said William McCully, acting spokesman for the Winston County Emergency Management Agency.
Earlier Monday, emergency officials attending a news conference with Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said seven people had been killed statewide. State Director of Health Protection Jim Craig said officials were working with coroners to confirm the total. It was unclear if the deaths in Winston County were included in that tally.
Along Mississippi Highway 397 on the eastern edge of Louisville early Tuesday, firefighters picked through the remains of an unidentified number of pulverized mobile homes searching for survivors, while about 100 yards away, 20 firefighters linked hands and waded through an area where woodframe homes had been heavily damaged.
Trees in Louisville had been snapped in half and stripped of their branches, while sheet metal had twisted itself around road signs and tree trunks. Rescue workers stepped gingerly over downed power lines.
One of the deaths in Mississippi involved a woman who was killed when her car either hydroplaned or was blown off a road during the storm in Verona, south of Tupelo, said Lee County Coroner Carolyn Gillentine Green.
In northern Alabama, the coroner’s office confirmed two deaths Monday in a twister that caused extensive damage west of the city of Athens, said Limestone County Emergency Director Rita White. White said more victims could be trapped in the wreckage of damaged buildings, but rescuers could not reach some areas because of downed power lines.
Separately, Limestone Commissioner Bill Latimer said he received reports of four deaths in the county from one of his workers. Neither the governor’s office nor state emergency officials could immediately confirm those deaths.
The threat of dangerous weather jangled nerves a day after the three-year anniversary of a historic outbreak of more than 60 tornadoes that killed more than 250 people across Alabama on April 27, 2011.
Amy reported from Louisville, Miss. Associated Press writers Jack Elliott Jr. and Emily Wagster Pettus in Jackson, Miss; Janet McConnaughey in New Orleans; Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Ala.; AP Photographer Butch Dill in Fayette, Ala.; Phillip Lucas in Atlanta; Russ Bynum in Savannah, Ga., contributed to this report.United States - North America - Alabama - Kentucky - Tennessee - Mississippi - Athens - Phil Bryant - Tupelo