Death toll in storms sweeping South increases to 5

Associated Press

Suspected tornadoes swept across parts of Alabama and Tennessee early today, killing five people and injuring more than a dozen as severe storms dropped heavy rains on the drought-stricken South.

Dozens of buildings were reported damaged or destroyed.

Three people were killed and one person critically injured in a mobile home after an apparent twister hit the small northern Alabama town of Rosalie, Jackson County Chief Deputy Rocky Harnen said.

Shirley Knight, whose family owns a small propane business in the area, said the storm crashed in on them in the middle of the night. Daybreak revealed mangled sheets of metal, insulation and a ladder hanging in trees.

"We had a plaza, a service station and several buildings connected together, and it's all gone," said Knight, adding the storm also destroyed a church and damaged buildings at a nearby Christmas tree farm.

The same storm apparently hit a closed day care center in the community of Ider, injuring seven people, including three children who had left their mobile home to seek shelter, said Anthony Clifton, DeKalb County emergency management director.

The twisters were reported across several counties in northern Alabama and southern Tennessee, National Weather Service meteorologist Lauren Nash said.

An apparent tornado was responsible for the death of a husband and wife in southern Tennessee's Polk County, while an unknown number of others were injured, said Tennessee Emergency Management Agency spokesman Dean Flener. No further details were immediately available.

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