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Sunday, 25 November, 2001, 16:19 GMT
Tornadoes tear through US South
Two women hugging in front of destroyed house
Some houses were lifted and blown away by the tornadoes
Many parts of the US Mississippi Delta are without power after tornadoes ripped through several states, causing at least 12 deaths.

Six tornadoes were reported in Alabama early on Saturday, killing four people and injuring another 11.

Two women were killed when a tornado lifted their home off its foundations in Kennedy, Alabama.

There were flashes of lightning, then the sound of explosions like a gun battle.

Winston Thompson
Tornado eyewitness

Two other people died when their mobile home was blown into a pond.

In Madison, Mississippi state, one person was killed. Local resident Winston Thompson described the impact of the tornadoes.

She said: "There were flashes of lightning, then the sound of explosions like a gun battle.

"I walked outside and I could hear people call over and over for help."

Critical

In neighbouring Arkansas, two deaths were reported in the small town of Wilmot.

Governor Ronnie Mugrove comforts a resident in Madison, Mississippi
Many faced seeing their homes destroyed

In Mississippi at least 21 people were injured, including a 32-year-old pregnant woman.

The woman, who is in a critical condition at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, gave birth to a baby which died on Saturday.

The sound of warning sirens screaming awoke Roosevelt Greenwood before dawn on Saturday.

Strong winds

He was crowding his wife and four children into a tiny hall closet when the tornado hit the house in Madison, Mississippi.

"As soon as I closed the door to the closet, the tornado hit. It took the roof off," he said.

"Where my two-year-old son had been lying, the wall caved in on the crib."

The small town of Haleyville was one of the hardest hit in Alabama.

Eleven people were injured, one critically.


Where my two-year-old son had been lying, the wall caved in on the crib

Roosevelt Greenwood, Madison

Strong winds ripped through the town leaving a trail of heavy damage to several businesses.

Furniture mangled

Some buildings were torn from their foundations and had their store fronts blown out.

The First Baptist church had its roof blown off and its steeple toppled.

In Arkansas, houses were reduced to rubble, cars were blown around like toys, furniture was mangled and belongings were scattered.

The authorities said it would be several days before power could be restored to about 17,000 customers.

The storm system moved rapidly east across the Mississippi Valley region on Saturday, destroying property and power lines and uprooting trees.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Freya Michie
"The fierce storms were largely unexpected"
See also:

25 Nov 01 | Americas
In pictures: Tornadoes hit US South
10 Oct 01 | Americas
Tornadoes hit US Mid-West
06 Aug 01 | Americas
Florida flood alert as storm strikes
05 Aug 01 | Americas
US braces for tropical storm
19 Feb 00 | Washington 2000
Decades of major hurricanes ahead
18 Sep 00 | Sci/Tech
Nature's lethal weapons
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