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Deadly storms rip South

Officials in North Carolina are reporting that a Thursday morning tornado has killed at least seven people.

BY HEATHER MOYER | RIEGELWOOD, N.C. | November 16, 2006

Officials in North Carolina are reporting that a Thursday morning tornado has killed at least seven people.

A tornado struck homes in the southeast North Carolina community of Riegelwood Thursday morning around 6:30 a.m. Authorities are on the scene and treating injured residents and have found seven dead so far. Rescue teams are searching rubble for more people. Four people remain unaccounted for. At least 20 people were taken to the hospital for injuries.

Television images from the small town show houses blown apart and debris strewn across yards and fields. Authorities say at least 30 homes have been destroyed, may of which were in a mobile home community.

Two traffic deaths in the Columbus County area are also being blamed on the stormy weather. A tornado reportedly touched down in Iredell County as well, injuring three people. Authorities are assessing damages.

Another man died early Wednesday in Louisiana after a tornado tore through Washington and Tangipahoa parishes. At least eight people were injured as the same storm system spawned more twisters through Mississippi.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has completed some preliminary damage assessments in the affected counties of Greene, Walthall, Lamar and Jones. Greene County has four homes destroyed and 10 with major damage. Jones County had 12 homes destroyed and 15 with major damage. Lamar County had 12 homes destroyed and eight with major damage. Walthall County had nine homes with major damage.

Central Mississippi's Madison County also saw a tornado destroy two homes.

A tornado also struck Montgomery, Ala., Wednesday afternoon, destroying several homes and an ice rink. Some injuries were reported.

Localized flash flooding is also being reported across the South as the storms dump heavy rains. The weather system causing all the storms will continue to push east Thursday, according to the National Weather Service, and more tornado watches and warnings remain posted for much of the southeastern seaboard.

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