At least 44 dead after storms pound US South

SANFORD, North Carolina — Officials were assessing the damage Monday from a series of violent storms in the US South that left 44 people dead.

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Published: Mon 18 Apr 2011, 10:35 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 7:51 PM

More than 240 tornadoes were reported from the storm system, including 62 in North Carolina, but the National Weather Service’s final numbers could be lower because some tornadoes may have been reported more than once.

North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue said Monday morning on NBC television that she’d never seen anything like the devastation, saying it appeared that homes had been handled like paper doll houses. Search-and-rescue teams were still operating all over the eastern part of the state, and federal officials were beginning their damage assessments, she said.

The violent weather began Thursday in Oklahoma, where two people died, before cutting across the Deep South on Friday and hitting North Carolina and Virginia on Saturday. Authorities said seven people died in Arkansas; seven in Alabama; six in Virginia; and one in Mississippi. North Carolina’s state emergency management agency said it had reports of 23 fatalities from Saturday’s storms, but local officials confirmed only 21 deaths to The Associated Press.

An apparent tornado passed near a Virginia nuclear power plant, knocking down power lines. Dominion Virginia Power said backup sources including diesel generators kept electricity going to maintain both units at its Surry Power Station. The tornado didn’t hit the two nuclear units, which are designed to withstand weather, earthquakes and hurricanes, the company said.

North Carolina officials tallied more than 130 serious injuries, 65 homes destroyed and another 600 significantly damaged by Sunday evening, according to state public safety spokeswoman Julia Jarema. Officials expect those totals to climb as damage assessments continue.



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