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35 dead after days of tornadoes in South, Midwest


LOUISVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Forecasts for a third day of killer tornadoes in the South and Midwest didn't pan out, leaving many in the South and Midwest with new concerns about flooding Wednesday. But despite the loss of at least 35 lives, there was also a sense that things could have been worse.

A vast storm system still packed considerable punch days after the violent outbreak began in Arkansas and Oklahoma. At least four possible tornadoes were reported late Tuesday in North Carolina but there were no immediate reports of injuries. Heavy downpours also flooded low-lying streets along parts of the Gulf Coast as rivers swelled with runoff.

The storms hit especially hard in places such as Arkansas' northern Little Rock suburbs and the Mississippi cities of Louisville and Tupelo. Arkansas, with 15 deaths after a tornado blasted through Sunday, and Mississippi with 12 deaths from Monday's storms, accounted for the brunt of the death toll.

"We will overcome this," Louisville Mayor Will Hill said against a backdrop of hundreds of damaged buildings, including two hilltop churches pounded to rubble. "We're going to work together."

Authorities in Louisville searched until dark Tuesday for an 8-year-old boy missing since Monday's large tornado that killed his parents and destroyed the home where they lived. Though searchers didn't rule out finding the boy alive, officials were describing the process as one of "recovery."

Besides the dead in Mississippi and Arkansas, at least three died in Alabama, two in Iowa and one in Oklahoma.

After two days of destruction opened Sunday in the Midwest and continued Monday into the South, some didn't take any chances late Tuesday with yet more tornado watches.

Simon Turner and her 7-year-old son, Christopher, scrambled to a shelter in Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Tuesday afternoon after hearing a tornado watch had been issued around that city.

Frightened by memories of a killer tornado that partly demolished Tuscaloosa three years ago, the Turners had opted for refuge in a school with a reinforced hallway. "We'll be here till they say it's OK to leave," Turner said before the all-clear came.

Sunday was the anniversary of an outbreak of more than 60 tornadoes that killed more than 250 people across Alabama on April 27, 2011.

The dead Monday included University of Alabama swimmer John Servati, who authorities say took shelter in the basement of a home when a retaining wall collapsed. Servati was a business major on the dean's list.

Some survived or died amid split-second decisions.

William Quinn, 25, and others dove under the gap beneath a house in Mars Hill, Miss., seconds before a tornado blew heavily damaged the home and sheared off the roofs of nearby poultry houses. He called his decision "a spur of the moment thing."

But in the southern Tennessee community of Fayetteville, a married couple was killed Monday in a tornado after returning to their mobile home after mistakenly believing the danger had passed, a neighbor said. Authorities identified the victims as John Prince, 60, and his wife Karen, 44.

"We pulled up, and were in shocked seeing our own home. But then we saw Karen's father, and he said 'John and Karen are gone - They didn't make it,'" recalled neighbor Tiffani Danner. She had left and came back to find her own home destroyed as well.

Darrell Haney, in a home nearby, thought that community was out of the woods when TV switched from tornado warnings back to regular programming - then suddenly cut back to a possible tornado.

Haney quickly plucked up two grandchildren and huddled in a bathroom with his wife, daughter and son-in-law. Almost immediately, he said, a tree crashed into a front room where one of the children had been sleeping. The roof was lifted off of the master bedroom.

"The house is being torn apart around you, and we're just crying out, 'God protect us,'" Haney said. "Because at that point you're totally hopeless and helpless."

Elsewhere, Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe visited several homes Tuesday that were damaged by a deadly twister, stopping at one location where three members of a family were killed. Three of Arkansas' 15 deaths were a father and two daughters and Beebe spoke to survivors, including two of the man's other daughters.

"It was kind of heartbreaking those two little girls that I talked to that lost two of their siblings and their dad," Beebe said afterward. "That's utter destruction up there ... and these people need to know that folks care about them."

Please consider helping the victims of the tornadoes through Network for Good.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
Ingemar Nyqvist April 30 2014 at 6:45 AM

God has the strength, power and love for those who have suffered to be bothered to build up your life again. With God's greetings from Ingemar/Sweden. Pray for all of you.

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2 replies
TVelvick Ingemar Nyqvist April 30 2014 at 7:31 AM

If you believe in God, that he knows all sees all, didn't God have something to do with this weather out-break??

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7 replies
erik53ncr Ingemar Nyqvist April 30 2014 at 9:33 AM

tack ska du har tänk om vi alla kunde bo i sverige

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amerigom April 30 2014 at 1:04 PM

I know it's too late for my suggestion; but, IF our Lwmakers had passed a "LAW" against floods and tornadoes; it may have "saved" some lives!

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wlab123 April 30 2014 at 9:18 AM

Some of the comments here are those of morons.Instead of whining, how about a little sympathy or help for those involved. Those who use religion to answer every question, put your money or time where your mouth is. How about a little help instead of preaching.

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1 reply
kcarthey wlab123 April 30 2014 at 9:34 AM

You nailed it. I am very tired of those who use tragedy to prostelize. This is a time that I suspect all of those in an affected community are working together regardless of color, sexuality or religion or lack thereof. Yet on line, safely away from the chaos come the prostelizers and their attempts at conversion. Sick...

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1 reply
MICHAEL kcarthey April 30 2014 at 10:17 AM

i agree with you whole heartedly. americas heart land? plz. i think i'll pass on it and leave it to the bible thumpers.

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Mike April 30 2014 at 8:21 AM

God hates the Bible Belt.

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2 replies
kutter2 Mike April 30 2014 at 9:26 AM

When you seeHIM you tell HIM that HE is a jerk , In the time you have left in this life perhaps you should studt the means that have been used to "scientificly prove the existance of creation and that TRUE Holy Beings not only Existed but ARE still available & here . We only give Thanks to GOD , we "try" not to second guess HIM, That would be judging THE JUDGE!

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2 replies
dgoffnspector kutter2 April 30 2014 at 9:57 AM

HEHEHEHE. Silly rabbit. There are absolutely ZERO sources that one might studt(sic) that scientificly(sic) proves the existance(sic) of creation or any invisible sky fairies. If you know of a single one, provide a link.

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golffrdlrs kutter2 April 30 2014 at 11:50 AM

Note that the reason we are not supposed to judge the judge is because the judge says so. Red flag! An almighty, omnipotent creator of the universe wouldn't care in the least if a human judged him or her. They would be far above petty vanity. The more powerful and secure any entity is the less they would be vain and egotistical. This nonsense about a god getting angry at the slightest questioning of him is an obvious tactic to scare people away from thinking rationally about god(s).

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MICHAEL Mike April 30 2014 at 10:13 AM

apparently so. when you got the finger of god commin out the sky wiping everything out..... id say so.

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Arlene April 30 2014 at 8:04 AM

I never see anyone blame the devil......?

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2 replies
packagexl Arlene April 30 2014 at 9:07 AM

Well neither of those dudes exist .... only in myths, legends and old tales. Each so called religion has there own god figure Allah, Buddha, Jesus etc. To make matteres worse people fight over religion which if there was some supreme god he would not let this happen. If you really analyze religion and break it down it makes zero sense. There is no GOOD or EVIL ..... just fate, time and the universe. The only superior being in my estimation would be an ET who has been around millions of years before Earth and mankind.

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6 replies
MICHAEL Arlene April 30 2014 at 10:14 AM

i find that odd to.

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natalie1228 April 30 2014 at 7:54 AM

God gave us choice because we wanted it soooooooooo badly, our choices have brought us to this place in time. God gave us what we wanted, even though He knew what would happen. Don't blame God, we made this world the disaster it is.

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1 reply
golffrdlrs natalie1228 April 30 2014 at 11:54 AM

That's the master marketing plan designed to scare ignorant, gullible people into believing. The more you think about the whole proposition logically the more you can see this.

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stengernc April 30 2014 at 7:53 AM

The 1% rich have always used religion to gain more control over their subjects. God gave us complete freedom of will. How we treat and respect God's entire circle of life including our own home called earth creates the conditions that we will experience. If we are arrogant, greedy, selfish and hateful then Nature compliments those efforts. There are no blessing even though our egos demand it. We reap what we sow. The bible has been abused and misused for thousands of years because humanity is flawed and they use it for selfish reasons; like selling tickets to heaven, controlling the masses while plundering life's resources for the benefit of the few, creating hate and war and discriminating against 66% of the rest of the world which does not believe that Jesus is a savior but a very compassionate human who tried to teach us that 99% of the world is poor and being exploited by the rich....are you listening ? or are you just stupid?

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5 replies
natalie1228 April 30 2014 at 7:50 AM

God bless all of you! Is there an early warning system? Its seems no one is getting out ahead of time and I thought there was a system in place?????

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3 replies
katydid579 April 30 2014 at 7:45 AM

Sorry for the losses, but one must wonder why people who live in severe weather areas don't have storm shelters and avoid living in trailer parks.

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3 replies
witness April 30 2014 at 7:38 AM

Try to remember that better days are coming, God did not cause this, indirectly we did, and those of us who are seeing this must remember that these things could have happened to us and may still be coming. The Bible is filled with promise of a new earth without pain or tears, or death. Until that day let us choose God and keep asking forgiveness in Jesus name.

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5 replies
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