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Tornadoes Sweeping South And Midwest Leave 43 Dead

Callie Schweitzer |
April 17, 2011 | 12:41 p.m. PDT


Aerial footage of the storm's effects. (Via CNN Video)
Aerial footage of the storm's effects. (Via CNN Video)
Severe storms sweeping the South and areas of the Midwest have left more than 40 people dead in the past 3 days, according to the National Weather Service.

North Carolina appears to have been hit hardest with reports showing that more than 21 people have been confirmed dead.

Gov. Bev Perdue declared the area in a state of emergency as rescue teams continued to search for victims on Sunday.

The executive order allows for large supply trucks to enter North Carolina and assist in the rescue and cleanup efforts.

Perdue noted that the 62 tornadoes reported made for the worst storm in the state since March 1984 when 42 people were killed.

CNN reports:

For North Carolina, "When the storm count is finalized, this will likely be an historic tornado outbreak," said CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras. "It is quite unusual to have this many supercell tornadoes of this intensity strike the area."

North Carolina normally gets about 19 tornadoes a year, according to the National Climatic Data Center. There are 90 preliminary reports of tornadoes in the state in the latest storm system. A single tornado often gets multiple reports, so it is not immediately clear how many there were, Jeras explained. "But regardless, this is an epic event."

"We've been assured we'll have whatever federal support we'll need," Perdue said late Saturday.

The storm has ravaged communities in five other states including Virginia, Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Mississippi.

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell also issued a state of emergency noting that they needed to "direct all possible resources towards responding to this event."

"The storm claimed its first lives Thursday night in Oklahoma, then roared through Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Authorities have said seven died in Arkansas; seven in Alabama; two in Oklahoma; and one in Mississippi. At least five died in Virginia," the AP reports.

Effects of the storm could be felt as far north as New York where high winds and heavy rain hit areas of the state.

The storm's wrath is also beginning to be felt in areas of the Midwest with flash floods and hail "the size of softballs."



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