Deadly storms, tornadoes sweep across southern US

Washington: Powerful storms have swept across the south of the United States after unleashing suspected tornadoes and flooding that killed at least eight people, injured dozens and flattened much of a Texas town. Three children were among the dead.

Nearly 90,000 customers were without electricity in Texas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Georgia as of midday Sunday, according to www.poweroutage.us as the severe weather left a trail of destruction.

Roman Brown moves part of a wall out of his way in a friend’s destroyed home outside of Hamilton, Mississippi, on Sunday.Credit:AP

There was widespread damage in Alto, a town of about 1200, and the school district cancelled classes until its buildings can be deemed safe.

A tornado flattened much of the south side of Franklin, Texas, overturning mobile homes and damaging other residences, said Robertson County Sheriff Gerald Yezak.

The weather service said preliminary information showed an EF-3 tornado touched down with winds of 225.3 kilometres per hour.

It destroyed 55 homes, a church, four businesses and part of the local housing authority building, authorities said.

Heavy rains and storms raked Mississippi into the night Saturday as the storms moved east.

A car lies upside down in a ditch following a suspected tornado in Franklin, Texas. Credit:AP

An elderly man died and 19 residents were taken to hospitals, including two in critical condition. A tornado was reported in the area 225 kilometres south-east of Memphis, Tennessee, at the time.

In Hamilton, Mississippi, 72-year-old Robert Scott said he had been sleeping in his recliner late Saturday when he was awakened and found himself in his yard after a tornado ripped most of his home off its foundation.

His 71-year-old wife, Linda, was in a different part of the house and also survived, he said. They found each other while crawling through the remnants of the house they have lived in since 1972.

"We're living, and God has blessed us," Scott, a retired manager for a grocery store meat department, said Sunday as neighbours helped him salvage his belongings.

Debris litters a field after a tornado touched down in McCracken County, Kentucky.Credit:AP

The large storm system also caused flash floods in Louisiana, where two deaths were reported.

As the storm moved into Alabama, a possible tornado knocked out power and damaged mobile homes in Troy.

The forecast of severe weather forced officials at the Masters in Augusta, Georgia, to start the final round of the tournament early on Sunday in order to finish in midafternoon before it began raining.

AP

A roof a home that was blown off a home rests on the ground in Hamilton, Mississippi, after after a deadly storm on Sunday.Credit:AP

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