A northern Mississippi mayor says several injuries are being reported in the city of Tupelo after a large tornado damaged homes and down trees and power lines.
Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton says none of the injuries are apparently life-threatening. Shelton says dozens of homes and businesses have been damaged. He called the damage extensive.
Bruce Ridgeway, vice president at North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo, says the hospital received six people with non-life-threatening injuries.
The National Weather Service reported another large tornado hit elsewhere in north-central Mississippi's Winston County. There were no immediate reports of injuries there.
Gov. Phil Bryant had declared a state of emergency Monday in advance of expected storms that forecasters have warned could trigger tornadoes, heavy downpours, damaging hail and flash floods.
In Little Rock, Ark. at least 15 are dead after a half-mile-wide tornado carved an 80-mile path of destruction through the suburbs Sunday evening, flattening rows of homes, shredding cars along a highway and demolishing a brand-new school before it even had a chance to open.
Officials said the death toll could have been worse if residents hadn't piled into underground storm shelters and fortified safe rooms after listening to forecasts on TV and radio, getting cellphone alerts or calls or texts from loved ones, and hearing sirens blare through their neighborhoods.
It was among a rash of twisters and violent storms across the Midwest and South that killed 17 people in all on Sunday.
With forecasters warning of more of the same Monday across the South, a large tornado damaged homes and downed trees and power lines around Tupelo, Miss.
Most of the dead in Arkansas were killed in their homes in and around Vilonia, population 3,800. Firefighters on Monday searched for anyone trapped amid the piles of splintered wood and belongings strewn across yards. Hospitals took in more than 100 patients.
The tornado that hit the town and nearby Mayflower was probably the nation's strongest so far this year on the 0-to-5 EF scale, with the potential to be at least an EF3, which means winds greater than 136 mph, National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Hood said.
It wrecked cars and trucks along Interstate 40 north of Little Rock. Also among the ruins was a new $14 million intermediate school that had been set to open this fall.
"It's amazing to me how wide it was," Mayflower Mayor Randy Holland said. "It was the loudest grinding noise I've ever heard."
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe said officials didn't yet have a count of the missing. He said the dead included a woman who was in a safe room but was hit by debris that went through the door.
"Mother nature and tornadoes, sometimes you can't explain how that works," Beebe said.
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