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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 February 2008, 16:56 GMT
Tornado clear-up under way in US
Tornado damage in Atkins, Arkansas
The winds left behind flattened streets and overturned vehicles
People have been returning to what remains of their homes after tornadoes left a trail of destruction across five southern US states.

Fifty-five people died and hundreds were injured as dozens of twisters hit Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alabama and Mississippi.

Thousands of people were left without power by the high winds.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) has sent teams to the worst affected areas.

President George W Bush will visit Tennessee - the worst affected state, where 31 people died - on Friday.

Phil Bredesen
It looks like the Lord took a Brillo pad and scrubbed the ground
Phil Bredesen
Governor of Tennessee

The winter storms - which were among the worst tornado clusters in US history - also killed 13 people in Arkansas, seven in Kentucky and four in Alabama.

They left behind flattened streets, wrecked mobile homes, overturned vehicles, and uprooted trees.

Mr Bush has promised to do what he could to help.

"Loss of life, loss of property - prayers can help and so can the government," he said.

"I do want the people in those states to know the American people are standing with them."

'Amazing'

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen said he was shocked by the scale of the Tuesday's storms, which "just literally sat on the ground in wide areas", leaving a trail of destruction up to 400 miles (643km) wide.

A student is transferred into an ambulance after being pulled from a collapsed dormitory building at Union University, Tennessee,.
Students were trapped when dormitories collapsed in Tennessee

"It looks like the Lord took a Brillo pad and scrubbed the ground," he told reporters as he observed the damage from a helicopter.

As survivors attempt to salvage possessions from their wrecked homes, remarkable stories of survival emerged.

In Castalian Springs, Tennessee, a baby was discovered unscathed in a field after lying there for several hours after his mother was killed.

At Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, students helped free classmates trapped in the rubble of two campus dormitories which collapsed in the high winds.

Fifty-one students were treated in hospital, some with extensive injuries, but no-one was killed.

"It's an amazing thing," university president David Dockery told reporters.


Have you or anybody you know been affected by the storms? Use the form below to send us your accounts, some of which may be published.

You can send pictures and video to: yourpics@bbc.co.uk or to send via mobile please dial +44 (0)7725 100 100.

If you have a large file you can upload here.

Do not endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.

Read a selection of your comments:

I live in Allen County on the border between Kentucky and Tennessee. As a Brit who moved to the states in 2000, I can honestly say I have never experienced such a terrifying storm in all my time here. It was classified as an EF2 with wind speeds of 111-135 mph. The lightening was so intense, it's hard to describe. It was like looking into a strobe light. The thunder literally shook my homes foundation, and the rain washed away most of my driveway. I thought my roof was going to blow off. I woke this morning after next to no sleep to no power and scared to look outside for what I might see.

Suprisingly there was little damage to my home, just a few missing shingles from the roof. Our neighbors in Lafayette, Tennessee were not so lucky, several people were killed, our prayers are with them. Four people in my county were killed, we were very lucky. The damage to homes around the area was surreal, barns and homes reduced to what looks like piles of matchsticks. Debris was everwhere. Never underestimate the power of mother nature.
Richard Roe, Scottsville, Kentucky

I was awakened by the sound of emergency sirens and my weather radio at about 0300. I quickly turned on my TV to local weather reports regarding the storm and realized that a possible tornado was in neighboring Lawrence County and was moving toward Decatur. My roommate and I rounded up our dogs and headed to my closet that is located in the centre of the house (there are few basements here due to the swampy terrain). The storm moved past Decatur on the northwest but resulted in three deaths and damage in Lawrence County. Thank goodness for the sirens, weather radio, and excellent local weather teams and thank God for watching over us.
Stephen, Decatur, Alabama, USA

There were numerous severe weather warnings on TV but i did not think it would get this bad. For most of the day the weather was normal but around 8pm the wind started blowing ferociously. All of a sudden we could hear sirens and we were ordered to the ground floor of our dormitory. After about half an hour it quickly became calm again. Luckily for us Arkansas State University was not damaged.
Macnos Mutano, Jonesboro, USA

We are in Starkville, Mississippi and are getting hit by the severe weather really bad right now and I'm surprised that we still have power and internet capabilities. It is unknown how bad the aftermath of the storm will be until the sun rises. We are still fearful of tornadoes here. Please keep us in your intentions.
Trevor Caulkins, Starkville, Mississippi USA

I live in Jackson, Tennessee, and watched the tornado as it passed less than a half-mile from where I was standing. There are 8 students still trapped in the University, as one of the dormitories has collapsed. As well as 50 elderly trapped inside a retirement home that collapsed. It has definitely been a terrifying night. Trees, buildings, power lines, street lights...they are down all over the place.
Meaghan, Jackson, Tennessee, US

A friend's mother was hiding in a bathtub in Jackson, TN. We have not heard from her as of this time because phone lines are down. This is not the first time for tornadoes to rip through that area. The Main Street was destroyed a few years back in the same town.
Vloxy, Dallas, TX

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SEE ALSO
Bush surveys tornado destruction
09 May 07 |  Americas
Tornado flattens town in Kansas
06 May 07 |  Americas
Florida struck by deadly tornado
02 Feb 07 |  Americas
Violent US storms leave 12 dead
08 Apr 06 |  Americas
How a tornado is formed
08 Sep 06 |  Science/Nature

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