Saturday, April 30, 2011

US southern tornados become second-deadliest in history

Xinhua: The death toll from the devastating tornados that swept through the southern United States this week has risen to at least 342, making it the second-deadliest tornado outbreak in American history. By early Saturday morning, emergency management officials tallied 254 deaths in Alabama, 34 in Tennessee, 33 in Mississippi, 15 in Georgia, 5 in Virginia and 1 in Arkansas, the CNN reported.

This is the deadliest tornado outbreak since March 1932, when 332 people were killed. The death toll is also the second-largest in the country's history, only below that of a 1925 tornado outbreak which left 747 people dead, according to the National Weather Service.

In the hardest-hit Alabama, the confirmed fatalities have soared to 254, according to the state Emergency Management Agency. In addition, more than 1,700 people were injured while several others still missing. U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday flew to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The city, with a population of over 90,000, has lost at least 45 lives in the storms and tornados.

"I've never seen devastation like this," said the president, "I just want to make a commitment to the communities here that we are going to do everything we can to help these communities rebuild ... We're going to make sure you're not forgotten."

Home to the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa is now struggling to get power and water supply back to city neighborhoods. In Alabama, up to one million homes and businesses remained without power Friday. Because of looting reports, Walter Maddox, mayor of Tuscaloosa, has issued a curfew order and it was still in effect Friday night from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday morning….

From the National Weather Service: EF4-rated tornado damage in Ringgold, Georgia which occurred during the April 25–28, 2011 tornado outbreak. Damage occurred overnight on the 27th, photo taken the next day

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