Photos: Storms cause major tornadoes, flooding around US south

Residents of several states in the southern U.S. assessed the damage and packed up the pieces after tornadoes and high winds caused widespread damage and killed at least two people.

A total of 73 tornado warnings and 120 severe thunderstorm warnings were issued from Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday morning, said Matthew Elliott, a meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma, the United States.

Forecasters had warned of the threat of strong tornadoes that could track the ground for long distances as a severe weather outbreak erupted in the Deep South.

Residents of several cities in Louisiana and Mississippi took cover as tornado sirens blared late Tuesday.

Severe thunderstorms rolled from east Texas to Georgia and as far north as Indiana. The National Weather Service confirmed Tuesday evening that tornadoes have touched the ground in Mississippi.

Significant tornado damage was also evident in the Flatwood community north of Montgomery, Alabama, where two people were killed when a tree hit their home, said Christina Thornton, director of the Montgomery County Emergency Management Agency.

Tornadoes damaged countless homes, destroyed a fire station, briefly trapped people in a grocery store and ripped the roof off a Mississippi apartment complex.

More than 25 million people were at risk from the massive storm system. The National Storm Prediction Center said in its storm forecast that affected cities could include New Orleans in Louisiana; Memphis and Nashville in Tennessee; and Birmingham in Alabama.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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