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Twisters in South estimated to have caused more than 200 deaths

by Adam Russett on April 28, 2011

On Wednesday, an enormous storm system triggered a violent series of tornadoes – some claim that the weather conditions spawned hundreds of the twisters – that ripped across parts of the South, including Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia. The National Weather Service received a total of 137 tornado reports in the region. 

Officials estimate that approximately 200 people have been killed by the disaster. Some towns, such as Tuscaloosa, Alabama, were struck by a raging, one-mile wide tornado that caused severe damage to the city's infrastructure.

President Obama declared that Alabama was a federal disaster area.

"We had a major catastrophic event here in Alabama with the outbreak of numerous long-track tornadoes," Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said in a phone briefing with reporters. "We were very prepared … but it was just the force of the storms," he added. "When a [large tornado] hits a largely populated area like Tuscaloosa, you cannot move thousands of people in five minutes. When an F4 or F5 tornado hits, there's not much you can do to change the outcome of that."

As the tornadoes cleared, many homes were destroyed and people looked through the remains for possessions and survivors. Trailer parks were especially vulnerable to the powerful storm – one woman told FoxNews.com that she saw one residence picked up into the air and thrown into the woods.

"They were thrown into those pines over there," Mary Green, said "They had to go look for their bodies."

Earlier this week, a smaller system of tornadoes had killed 10 people in Arkansas and one in Mississippi.

The Christian Science Monitor reports that this is the most deadly month for tornadoes since April of 1974, which killed 318 people. 

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