US & Canada

Storm and tornado hit southern US, killing at least four

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Media caption"It's a pretty heartbreaking sight to see" - Haskel Burns, journalist

A severe storm bringing a tornado, heavy rain, hail and lightning has hit parts of the southern US, killing at least four people and disrupting electricity supplies, officials say.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has declared an emergency in two counties.

His office said thousands were without power around Columbia, about 130km (81 miles) south-east of Jackson.

"We've got whole roofs lying in the road, people trapped in houses, cars flipped over," a local sheriff said.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The storm caused havoc in the Mississippi town of Columbia

Marion county Coroner Norma Williamson said that one woman was killed in a shopping area in Columbia, a rural community of about 6,500 people, and another in a nearby trailer home.

"It's chaos over here," she said of the storm, which damaged buildings, knocked over trees, scattered debris across roads and overturned vehicles including an ambulance.

The hospital in Columbia is reported to be running on generator power and some people in Marion county were reported by the Hattiesburg American newspaper to be trapped in their homes.

Storm warnings have now been issued for large parts of the states of Alabama and Georgia with the bad weather predicted to be moving towards Atlanta and south into Florida throughout Wednesday.

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