ROLLING FORK, Mississippi: A powerful tornado has struck Mississippi, killing at least 25 people, injuring dozens, flattening entire blocks and obliterating houses in Rolling Fork, Mississippi Delta. One person was also killed in Alabama.
Over the weekend, rescuers raced to search for survivors and help hundreds of people left homeless.
The tornado reduced homes to piles of rubble, flipped cars and toppled a water tower, while residents hid in bath tubs and hallways and later found shelter in a John Deere store, which was converted into a triage center for the injured.
In a tweet, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency announced that the death toll had risen to 25, from the earlier 23.
Local resident Wonder Bolden, holding her granddaughter, Journey, said, "There is nothing left. There is just the breeze that is running, going through, just nothing," according to the Associated Press.
Other parts of the Deep South were also hit by twisters.
In a tweet, the sheriff's department in Morgan County, Alabama said that one man also died.
While visiting the area devastated by the tornado, Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves issued a State of Emergency and pledged to help rebuild the damage.
Also, President Joe Biden described the damage as "heartbreaking," and promised to provide federal help.
Lance Perrilloux, a meteorologist with the weather service's Jackson, Mississippi office, said that initial information based on estimates from storm reports and radar data indicate that the tornado was on the ground for more than an hour and traveled at least 170 miles.