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Storms tear through South, adding to US death toll

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A man and woman examine the twisted wreckage of Glass Masters on U.S. 49 Frontage Road in Richland, Miss., shortly after it was destroyed by a tornado late Monday afternoon, April 28, 2014. With parts of the U.S. recovering from deadly tornadoes, more heavy storms are making their way across the South. (AP Photo/The Clarion-Ledger, ) NO SALES

A man and woman examine the twisted wreckage of Glass Masters on U.S. 49 Frontage Road in Richland, Miss., shortly after it was destroyed by a tornado late Monday afternoon, April 28, 2014. With parts of the U.S. recovering from deadly tornadoes, more heavy storms are making their way across the South. (AP Photo/The Clarion-Ledger, ) NO SALES

Tim Harmon, sales manager at Mayflower RV, surveys tornado damage at his employer’s dealership in Mayflower, Ark., Tuesday, April 29, 2014. A tornado struck the town late Sunday. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston)

Emergency personnel search the remains of several mobile homes for survivors in Louisville, Miss., early Tuesday morning, April 29, 2014 after a tornado hit the east Mississippi community Monday. Tornadoes flattened homes and businesses, flipped trucks over on highways and bent telephone poles into 45-degree angles as they barreled through Alabama and Mississippi on Monday, part of a storm system that killed at least nine people in the South and brought the overall death toll from two days of severe weather in the country to at least 26. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

A view of a rain-wrapped tornado looking south from Hazel Green High School is seen as multiple tornadoes raked across Hazel Green and northern Madison County late afternoon Monday, April 28, 2014, in Hazel Green, Ala. (AP Photo/AL.com, Eric Schultz)

A searcher walks past the remains of a SUV in Louisville, Miss., early Tuesday morning, April 29, 2014 after a tornado hit the east Mississippi community Monday. Tornadoes flattened homes and businesses, flipped trucks over on highways and bent telephone poles into 45-degree angles as they barreled through Alabama and Mississippi on Monday, part of a storm system that killed at least nine people in the South and brought the overall death toll from two days of severe weather in the country to at least 26. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

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LOUISVILLE, Miss. (AP) — A dangerous storm system that spawned a chain of deadly tornadoes over three days flattened homes and businesses, forced frightened residents in more than half a dozen states to take cover and left tens of thousands in the dark Tuesday.

As the storm hopscotched across a large swath of the U.S., the overall death toll was at least 30, with 13 killed Monday and 17 Sunday in a band stretching from Oklahoma to Alabama. Forecasts showed the storm continuing to move east Tuesday, with Georgia and Alabama residents waking to sirens, howling wind and pounding rain.

Others found their loved ones missing and their homes pulverized. Along Mississippi Highway 397 on the eastern edge of Louisville, firefighters picked through the remains of mobile homes, searching for three people unaccounted for after a tornado tore through. Twenty firefighters linked hands and waded through an area where wood frame homes had also been heavily damaged. Rescue workers stepped gingerly over downed power lines and trees that were snapped in half and stripped of branches.

The Louisville tornado caused water damage and carved holes in the roof of the Winston Medical Center. The emergency room was evacuated Monday.

“We thought we were going to be OK, then a guy came in and said, ‘It’s here right now,'” said Dr. Michael Henry, head of the emergency room. “Then boom … it blew through.”

Republican state Sen. Giles Ward huddled in a bathroom with his wife, four other family members and their dog as the tornado destroyed his two-story brick house in Louisville and flipped his son-in-law’s SUV upside down onto the patio.

“For about 30 seconds, it was unbelievable,” Ward said. “It’s about as awful as anything we’ve gone through.”

Officials said seven people died in Winston County, where Louisville is the county seat, with about 6,600 people. Another person died in Mississippi when her car either hydroplaned or was blown off a road during the storm in Verona, south of Tupelo, Lee County Coroner Carolyn Gillentine Green said.

One of the seven victims in Winston County was a woman who died in the day care center she owned in Louisville, county Coroner Scott Gregory told The Associated Press late Monday. Authorities were returning to the center Tuesday.

One seriously injured child was evacuated, said state Rep. Michael Evans, D-Louisville, who is acting as a liaison for the county. The child’s condition was not known Tuesday. Evans said authorities don’t think any other children were in the center during the storm.

“No other parents have shown up to say, ‘My child was at the daycare.’ That’s why we think the day care is fine,” Evans said.

In Tupelo, a community of about 35,000 in northeastern Mississippi, every building in a two-block area was damaged, officials on the scene said.

On Tuesday morning, a blanket of fog hung over the city as authorities switched from a search-and-rescue mission to cleanup duties.

In one residential neighborhood, destroyed homes sat steps away from those left unscathed. Crews cleared trees tangled with power lines, fixed cracked roadway signs and removed debris from streets.

In Kimberly, Ala., about 20 miles north of Birmingham, a suspected tornado hit at a crossroads before midnight Monday, tearing the A-shaped roof off the town’s Church of God. On Tuesday morning, the roof sat in a solid piece beside the red brick church.

Across the street, the cinderblock walls from an old fishing supply store were scattered around the gravel parking lot. The building’s metal frame remained. Down the road, the fire department was flattened.

Tim Armstrong picked up pieces of splintered trees in his backyard. Armstrong, his wife and their two young daughters were home when the storm struck. He

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