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Death toll from US tornado outbreak rises to at least 34

The storms claimed lives in at least six states.

Image: PA

THE DEATH TOLL from a tornado outbreak that ravaged the southern United States has risen to at least 34 as Mississippi officials said a 12th person had died there.

The storms claimed lives in at least six states, and the National Weather Service said preliminary assessments found evidence that at least 27 twisters struck the region.

The strongest was an EF-4 tornado that devastated south-eastern Mississippi with winds as fast as 170mph.

Hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed, and heavy rains caused flooding in some areas. Nashville, Tennessee broke a 71-year-old record with 2.23 inches of rain in a day, the weather service said.

Damage occurred up the east coast of the US, with a flurry of tornado warnings in Delaware after storms left the south east.

Cleaning up and helping people after the storms was complicated by social distancing guidelines and shutdowns meant to safeguard against Covid-19.

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The head of disaster relief for the Southern Baptist Convention, Sam Porter, said volunteers teams were out wearing protective masks and avoiding personal contact as they fed storm victims and used chainsaws to remove fallen trees.

He said: “We’ll adapt our methods but we’ll still be there when the world falls apart.”

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