Americas

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Tornado Death Toll Rises to 57

February 08, 2008 07:29 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Tennessee and Arkansas were hit the hardest during Tuesday’s pre-dawn tornadoes. FEMA responds by dispatching relief teams and President Bush pledges federal aid.

30-Second Summary

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Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes have killed at least 57 people and injured hundreds more across the South. The damage is likely to amount to hundreds of millions of dollars.

The tornadoes that swept through Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama on Tuesday were the deadliest in 23 years, with Tennessee and Arkansas taking the severest blows. So far, Mississippi has not reported any deaths.

The storms in Tennessee were “massive,” according to emergency director Keith Scruggs. “I've been working 34 years and I've never seen anything like this,” Scruggs said.

They destroyed a Union University dorm in Jackson, Tenn., leaving at least nine students trapped. They also caused a rest home to collapse, trapping some if its residents inside.

It is nearly tornado season in the world’s most tornado-prone country, according to National Geographic. On average, 800 tornadoes are reported in the United States every year. These storms cause an average of 90 deaths and millions of dollars worth of damage.

Despite technological advancements, scientists cannot accurately predict where a tornado will strike. In fact, the average lead-time for a tornado warning is 12 minutes.

Headline Link: As the devastation is assessed, a baby symbolizes hope

Background: Rescue teams begin work

History: Tri-State Tornado deadliest in U.S. history

Reference: The mystery of tornadoes

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