Mississippi tornado and storms kill at least 23
At least 23 people were killed and dozens injured as a tornado and strong thunderstorms ripped across Mississippi late on Friday, the state's emergency management agency said, with the twister leaving a trail of damage for more than 100 miles (160 km).
Four people were missing as search and rescue teams combed through the destruction looking for survivors after the storm struck Silver City, a town in Western Mississippi, the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said in a series of tweets.
"Unfortunately, these numbers are expected to change," it said, referring to the death toll.
Search and rescue teams were also out in Rolling Fork, a town of 1,700 people that saw the brunt of the tornado, CNN reported.
"My city is gone, but we are resilient," Rolling Fork Mayor Eldridge Walker said on CNN. "We are going to come back strong."
According to Walker, 12 of the people who died were in Rolling Fork, adding several people were trapped in their homes.
"Rescue efforts are happening as we speak, they resumed early this morning," said Walker.
A resident called Brandy Showah also told the network that the town was gone. "I’ve never seen anything like this," Showah said, adding that her grandmother's house suffered damage.
"My friend was trapped in her home a few houses down, but we got her out," Showah said, adding that there were people who live next to her grandmother still trapped in their houses.
Todd Terrell, who heads a volunteer rescuers group called United Cajun Navy, told ABC News that Rolling Fork was "pretty much devastated" and many people remained trapped in their homes.
Terrell compared the destruction to a tornado in Joplin, Missouri, that killed 161 people in 2011.
At least 24 reports of tornadoes were issued to the National Weather Service on Friday night and into Saturday morning by storm chasers and observers.
The reports stretched from the western edge of Mississippi north through the center of the state and into Alabama.
Photographs of the destruction published by news networks showed entire buildings left in rubble and cars turned over on their sides as people climbed through the debris in darkness.
"Many in the MS Delta need your prayer and God’s protection tonight," Governor Tate Reeve said in a tweet.
"We have activated medical support—surging more ambulances and other emergency assets for those affected. Search and rescue is active."