At least 269 people were killed in 6 states after another storm system moving through the southeastern USA spawned deadly tornadoes on Wednesday.
Dozens of tornadoes roared through north-central Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia on Wednesday, splintering towns and families in one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history. The worst of it fell along a path that began in Tuscaloosa and stretched eastward through Birmingham, where 100-mph winds crushed houses, schools and businesses.The 1974 'Super Outbreak' was through to have generated 148 tornadoes from Laurel, MS to as far north as Windsor, ON, Canada. The Southwestern Ohio town of Xenia bore the brunt of a ½ mile wide funnel cloud that killed more than 30 people.
"There is massive devastation out there," a grim Gov. Robert Bentley said during an appearance today on Good Morning America.
Bentley, a Tuscaloosa native, declared a state of emergency and mobilized about 2,000 Alabama National Guardsmen. He said emergency responders were still trying to locate survivors and identify the bodies of the deceased.
Across the Southeast, more than 200 were confirmed dead in one of the deadliest outbreaks in nearly 40 years. Dave Imy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the number of deaths was the most in a tornado outbreak since 1974, when 315 people died.
Wednesday's storms had nearly matched the 1974 outbreak in terms of scope and casualties.
The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said it received 137 tornado reports into Wednesday night. The storms forced authorities in some places into makeshift command posts after their headquarters lost power or were damaged, and an Alabama nuclear plant was using backup generators to cool units that were shut down.
A tornado expert at the Oklahoma center said it appears some of the tornadoes were as wide as a mile and likely packed a wallop that only 1 in 100 twisters ever reach. It could be days, however, before scientists make an official determination.
Footage from storms chasers north of Philadelphia, MS on Apr. 27, 2011The storm killed at least 33 people in Mississippi prompting Gov. Haley Barbour to declare a state of emergency for 39 Mississippi counties.