Worst storm in decades kills 45 in southern US
A furious storm system that kicked up tornadoes, flash floods and hailstones as big as grapefruits has claimed at least 45 lives across the southern US, writes Ian Hunter.
Emergency crews searched for victims in hard-hit swathes of North Carolina, where 62 tornadoes were reported from the worst spring storm in two decades to hit the state. Authorities warned the death toll was likely to rise further.
The storm claimed its first lives on Thursday in Oklahoma, then roared through Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia.
In North Carolina, Governor Beverly Perdue declared a state of emergency and said the 62 tornadoes reported were the most deadly since March 1984, when a storm system spawned 22 twisters that killed 57 people.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody in North Carolina who has been through this horrible day," she said.