Downed utility poles lie across a road Monday in the Clements community west of Athens, Ala., after a tornado.
Tornadoes flattened homes and businesses, flipped trucks over on highways and bent telephone poles into 45-degree angles as they barreled through the South on Monday, killing several people and unleashing severe thunderstorms, damaging hail and flash floods.
Tens of thousands of customers were without power in Alabama, Kentucky, and Mississippi, and thousands more hunkered down in basements and shelters as The National Weather Service issued watches and warnings for more tornadoes late Monday night.
Weather satellites from space showed tumultuous clouds arcing across much of the South.
The system is the latest onslaught of severe weather a day after a half-mile-wide tornado carved an 80-mile path of destruction through the suburbs of Little Rock, Ark., killing at least 15. Tornadoes also killed one person each in Oklahoma and Iowa on Sunday.
In northern Alabama, the coroner’s office confirmed two deaths Monday in a twister that caused extensive damage west of the city of Athens, said Limestone County Emergency Director Rita White. White said more victims could be trapped in the wreckage of damaged buildings, but rescuers could not reach some areas because of downed power lines.
Separately, Limestone Commissioner Bill Latimer said he received reports of four deaths in the county from one of his workers. Neither the governor’s office nor state emergency officials could immediately confirm those deaths.