A strong storm system that produced several possible tornadoes hit the Southeast on Wednesday, damaging dozens of homes and buildings. At least four people were killed and dozens more were injured.
Suspected tornadoes were reported in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina, and thousands of people were without power as trees and power lines were downed.
In South Carolina, three people were killed and five injured when a tornado swept through a rural community near Rock Hill, about 20 miles south of Charlotte, North Carolina. In north Georgia, an unidentified person was killed when a tree fell on a sport utility vehicle
In Alabama, a suspected twister splintered trees and demolished mobile homes at a pair of housing parks near the Auburn University campus.
In Rock Hill, Simone Moore told The Herald newspaper that she was sitting on her back porch when she saw the tornado touch down and then quickly move back up. She said after the storm passed, she noticed a nearby trailer had vanished.
“Everything’s gone,” Ms. Moore said. “Even the cows in the pasture.”
As weather service experts fanned out to assess damage, Auburn graduate student Staci DeGeer didn’t have any doubts about what sent a pair of trees crashing through her mobile home at Ridgewood Village.
Trees fell on homes in south-eastern Mississippi, where Jones County emergency director Don McKinnon said some people were briefly trapped. Mobile homes were tossed off their foundations. In all, 15 people were hurt in the area.
As the weather moved east, tornado warnings and watches were issued in Georgia and South Carolina.
At least 10 people were injured when a possible tornado ripped through an area south of Lexington in North Carolina, destroying one building, damaging several others and leaving thousands without electricity.
Forecasters said a cold front stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Northeast was to blame. Temperatures dropped in some areas from the low 70s to the 50s as the front passed, and winds gusted to near 30 mph (48 kmph).