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Nine dead as tornadoes rip across central US

by Staff Writers
Chicago (AFP) April 15, 2011
At least nine people, including three young children, were killed as a powerful storm whipped up tornadoes across the central United States, officials said Friday.

The storm toppled trees and power lines, tore roofs off houses, and scattered tractor-trailers across highways.

Two-dozen tornadoes were reported in Mississippi and Alabama on Friday, a day after 15 twisters struck in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas, the National Weather Service said.

Many of the deaths were in rural areas of Arkansas and most of the damage was caused by falling trees.

But the storm was powerful enough to lift a double-wide trailer into the air and toss it about 70 feet (21 meters), killing a 65-year-old woman and critically injuring a 70-year-old man inside.

"Three of the seven victims were seven years of age or younger," said Tommy Jackson, spokesman for the Arkansas department of emergency management.

"It's quite sad."

A mother and her 7-year-old child were killed when a tree fell on their house in the city of Little Rock and a father and his infant son were killed when a tree fell on their mobile home in Garland County, Jackson said.

A 6-year-old child was killed when a tree fell on a house in White County and a man was killed when a tree fell on his trailer in Pulasky County.

Two other people were killed in Oklahoma when a major twister tore through Atoka County.

"It's pretty extensive," said Laura Taylor of the county sheriff's office. "There are several houses destroyed. The school is pretty much leveled and there's two confirmed dead."

Meanwhile, the state of North Dakota continued to struggle to contain near-record flooding of the Red River.

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