Tornadoes ripped through the Southeast, killing 10 people including three children and injuring more than a dozen others.

Roofs were torn off businesses, homes were splintered, vehicles were overturned and roads were blocked by toppled trees.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said five people were killed in Choctaw County, including two children. Four victims were in Yazoo County and one was in Holmes County.

Gov Haley Barbour told The Associated Press there was “utter obliteration” in parts of Yazoo County, an area known for cotton, catfish, blues music and picturesque hills rising abruptly from the flat Mississippi Delta.

More than 15 other counties were also damaged. The swath of debris forced rescuers to pick up some of the injured on all-terrain vehicles the west-central part of the state.

Tornadoes were also reported in Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama, and the severe weather continued to track eastward.

In Yazoo City, Malcolm Gordon, 63, stood with members of his family peering through a broken window.

Above them, the roof was gone, a tree lay across part of the house and power lines stretched across the yard in a neighbourhood made up of modest houses and mobile homes on a street that winds around hills and ravines. The smell of shredded pine trees hung the warm breeze.

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