U.S. tornado death toll climbs to 12

April 26, 2010 at 11:59 AM
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JACKSON, Miss., April 26 (UPI) -- Tornadoes that sped through the southern United States killed at least 12 people, left dozens injured and carved a trail of destruction, officials said.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, in an apparent reference to a specific location hit by a tornado, described it as "the obliteration of a small community," ABC reported Monday on "Good Morning America."

Officials report counting 61 tornadoes in nine states as the storm moved through Mississippi and into Florida and South Carolina Sunday. Thirty-two twisters were reported in Mississippi, where winds above 160 mph were clocked and one tornado had a base 1 1/2 miles wide.

Federal emergency teams went to tornado-ravaged Mississippi Monday to survey areas where storms killed 10 people and injured dozens, The (Jackson) Clarion-Ledger reported.

Baseball pitcher Roy Oswalt of the Houston Astros was in Mississippi to look for his mother, Jean Oswalt, who was uninjured, ABC reported. He also worked to clear debris.

"Everything back here was gone," Jean Oswalt said. "It was just kind of like the world had come to an end."

Residents told media outlets they survived by seeking refuge in their bathrooms, kitchens and cars.

In Weir, Miss., Ron Sullivan said he was inside his grocery store with his wife and four customers when a tornado blew through the building, tossing him into a cinder block wall that later collapsed.

"When it hit the building, it literally was an explosion," he said. "It was gone immediately."

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