Tornadoes killed 11 people across the South Monday and another 17 in the central United States Sunday, bringing the death toll to 28 as a powerful string of deadly storms wreaked havoc on communities from Eastern Kentucky to Southern Mississippi this week.
The severe weather left tens of thousands of residents in the dark Tuesday morning, while some 89 Georgia counties remained under a tornado watch until 11 a.m. Tuesday.
Among those directly hit by the storm was Mississippi Republican State Sen. Giles Ward who huddled in a bathroom with his wife, four other family members and their dog Monday as a tornado destroyed his two-story brick house and flipped his son-in-law's SUV upside down onto the patio in Louisville, The Associated Press reported
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"For about 30 seconds, it was unbelievable," Ward told the AP. "It's about as awful as anything we've gone through."
This week's fatal string of tornadoes occurred one day after the three-year anniversary to a historically destructive series of twisters that left more than 250 people dead in Alabama on April 27, 2011.
One of the hardest hit areas was Vilonia, Arkansas, a suburb of Little Rock, which according to those on the ground looked as if it had been "hit with an atomic bomb."
"To give you an idea of what's left of the town, when we pulled up last night we had people who had been living here for years coming up to us and asking, 'Do you know what street we are on?'" veteran storm chaser Greg Johnson of TornadoHunter.com told NBC News
"This tornado left behind no visible landmarks in some areas and people just did not know where they were," Johnson added. "When you see photos of nuclear bomb explosions and the total destruction they cause, what we are seeing in areas here is certainly comparable to that. It's like it has been hit with an atomic bomb - totally flattened."
Statewide, the string of tornados left 15 people dead in Arkansas late Sunday, with the majority of dead being from the Little Rock suburb.
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