US tornado deaths reach 42

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The Independent Online
ATLANTA - Tornadoes and violent thunderstorms that ripped through five southern states of the US on Sunday killed at least 42 people, injured some 250 and damaged scores of rural communities, officials said yesterday.

The worst death toll was in Piedmont, Alabama, where a tornado hit a packed church during a Palm Sunday service, devastating the brick structure with about 140 worshippers inside. A total of 19 people have died from injuries received when the church's roof collapsed.

Another man died on a road near the church when the tornado ripped a telephone pole from the ground and drove it through his van.

Police reported two other deaths in Alabama, including a woman who died near the town of Ragland, where a tornado destroyed several houses and mobile homes and severely damaged another church.

Sixteen people died in Georgia and more than 100 were injured in severe storms and tornadoes which blasted several rural communities on Sunday.

As crews worked to restore power yesterday, the Red Cross and other relief agencies were providing food and other supplies to people who suddenly found themselves without electricity and, in many cases, their homes.

The National Weather Service said the storms erupted after a mass of warm, moist air, moving north from the Gulf of Mexico, hit a cold front, setting off violent weather.

(Photograph omitted)

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