A dangerous storm system that spawned a chain of deadly tornadoes over three days flattened homes and businesses, killing at least 35 and forcing frightened residents in more than half a dozen states to take cover and left tens of thousands in the dark Tuesday.

As crews in Mississippi and Alabama turned from search-and-rescue efforts to cleanup, forecasters began to downplay their initially dire predictions of a third round of deadly twisters Tuesday. Meterologists said the storm system had weakened substantially by evening, although some tornado watches and warnings were still in effect for isolated areas. The storm system is the latest onslaught of the severe weather after a tornado hit Arkansas.AP