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At least five dead after storms rip through southern US


stormAt least five people died after violent storms and tornadoes battered parts of the southern United States over the weekend, leaving at least eight more missing and dozens injured, officials said Monday.

A couple was killed in Nashville, Arkansas on Sunday when powerful winds smashed their mobile home in a trailer park, Howard County Coroner John Gray told local media. An infant in the home reportedly survived.

About 180 miles (290 kilometers) to the southwest in Van, Texas, a husband and wife were found dead near a mobile home park, according to the Dallas Morning News, which said eight people remained missing there.

And one person drowned in the town of Corsicana, 60 miles southwest of Van, according to the Corsicana Daily Sun.

In Van, homes were completely destroyed, and trees and power lines were toppled as high winds and heavy rains pounded the town in eastern Van Zandt county late Sunday, said Van Zandt County Fire Marshal Chuck Allen.

“Approximately 26 patients have been identified and transported to area hospitals,” Allen told AFP in a statement.

He said 30 percent of all property in the city was damaged.

“Fire and law enforcement are going door to door performing a thorough secondary search. We are attempting to find any further injured individuals,” Allen said.

The American Red Cross was also on site to help set up shelters, where people started to gather Sunday.

Allen said school classes were cancelled Monday, and authorities would be able to fully assess the damage later in the day.

The National Weather Service warned of more harsh weather in the coming days.

“Severe thunderstorms and heavy rainfall are expected to develop from Texas to the middle Mississippi Valley region,” the forecasters said.

“Flash flooding will continue to remain an issue as much of the ground is already saturated.”

Flood and thunderstorm warnings were issued in other parts of Texas, which is in a tornado-prone area of the United States.

The storm hit Van only days after a twister tore through Eastland county, Texas, on Saturday, 205 miles (330 kilometers) east of Van Zandt, killing one person and leaving another seriously injured.

Meanwhile, a tornado touched down at Delmont, South Dakota Sunday, damaging at least 20 buildings, NBC affiliate KDLT News reported.

There were no injuries reported, but dozens of people were left homeless.

The tornado season in the US southern plains normally runs from May into early June, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.



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