Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dozens of tornadoes kill more than 240 in South

Marty Roney in USA Today: As day broke Thursday, people throughout the South began to survey the wreckage left behind after dozens of tornadoes ripped through six states killing 248 people. Residents search through what is left of their homes Thursday after a tornado hit Pleasant Grove, just west of downtown Birmingham, Ala., a day earlier.

It was the deadliest outbreak of tornadoes in nearly 40 years. It leveled entire neighborhoods and left victims buried beneath mounds of rubble. "It happened so fast it was unbelievable," said Jerry Stewart, a 63-year-old retired firefighter who was picking through the remains of his son's wrecked home in Pleasant Grove, a suburb of Birmingham, Ala. "They said the storm was in Tuscaloosa and it would be here in 15 minutes. And before I knew it, it was here."

…Alabama's state emergency management agency said it had confirmed 162 deaths, while there were 32 in Mississippi, 32 in Tennessee, 13 in Georgia, eight in Virginia and one in Kentucky. In Tuscaloosa, a city of more than 83,000 that saw some of the worst damage, residents began to sift through what little remained of their homes….

FEMA photo by Liz Roll of aftermath of an Alabama tornado, April 12, 1998

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