Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Scores killed in tornadoes carnage

An aerial photo shows a severely damaged home hit by a tornado that ripped through the US state of Virginia (AP)
Homes were severely damaged by a tornado that ripped through areas of Virginia state in the US (AP)
A resident sifts through the remains of his friend's home in Tushka, Oklahoma, after a tornado swept through the area (AP)

A series of tornadoes has killed at least 45 people across six states of the US, including North Carolina, Virginia, Alabama and Arkansas.

There were reports of more than 60 tornadoes across North Carolina on Saturday, but most of the state's 21 confirmed deaths occurred in two rural counties.

A thunderstorm sparked a tornado which killed four people in south-eastern Bladen County, and then moved to cover another 150 miles, eventually moving into Bertie County and killing 11 more.

Some homes were swept from their foundations, others were demolished and cars flipped on tiny rural roads between Askewville and Colerain, county manager Zee Lamb said. At least three of those who died were from the same family.

The violent weather began on Thursday in Oklahoma, where two people died, before cutting across the south coast states on Friday and hitting North Carolina and Virginia on Saturday. Authorities said seven people died in Arkansas; seven in Alabama; seven in Virginia; and one in Mississippi.

More than 240 tornadoes were reported from the storm system, including 62 in North Carolina, but the National Weather Service's final numbers could be lower because some tornadoes may have been reported more than once.

Saturday was North Carolina's deadliest day for tornadoes since 1984, when 22 twisters killed 42 people and injured hundreds. The state emergency management agency said it had reports of 23 fatalities from Saturday's storms, but local officials confirmed only 21 deaths.

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