Alabama tornado slams church and daycare center; weather kills 5

Severe storms killed five people in Alabama and Tennessee overnight, and big parts of the Southeast were set to stay under a tornado watch until noon Wednesday.

In northeastern Alabama, a tornado killed at least three people early Wednesday, authorities said. Two people were later confirmed dead in Tennessee.

Photos of the deadly tornado:

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Three others were also critically injured in Alabama after a day-care center was "completely destroyed" in Ider in DeKalb County, according to the National Weather Service and local sheriff's office.

Officials initially described it as a "24-hour day care" but later confirmed that it was not open when the storm hit. Its operators, who live in a nearby mobile home, sought shelter in the building. Three adults and three children from that family were later transported to hospital, DeKalb County Emergency Management director Anthony Clifton said. The three adults were listed in critical condition.

RELATED: Alabama tornado fatalities

The band of storms stretched from the coast of Louisiana, across Mississippi and Alabama and into Georgia. New Orleans was among the cities under a tornado watch Wednesday.

Between tornado watches and heavy rain, about 10 million people from Louisiana through western North Carolina were under severe weather risk.

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