39 left dead as fiercest spring storms for decades sweep US

A VIOLENT storm system that brought tornadoes, flash floods and huge hail- stones has left at least 39 people dead across the US.

The storm claimed its first lives on Thursday night in Oklahoma, then roared through Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. Yesterday, emergency crews searched for victims in hard-hit areas of North Carolina, where 62 tornadoes were reported from the worst spring storm in two decades to hit the area. The state's death toll reached at least 17 people yesterday.

Authorities warned that the toll was likely to rise further. In Raleigh, North Carolina, a city of more than 400,000 people, the tornado moved through at about 7pm on Saturday, sweeping homes from their foundations, demolishing others and flipping cars.

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In Virginia, Department of Emergency Management spokesman Bob Spieldenner said one violent tornado ripped across more than 12 miles through Gloucester County, uprooting trees and pounding homes to rubble while claiming three lives.

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