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More than a dozen tornadoes cut deadly path through the South

At least 16 tornadoes touched down over the weekend in parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, according to the National Weather Service. The twisters flattened several communities and the extreme weather caused at least eight deaths. Meanwhile, more dangerous weather fronts are expected to move across the country in the coming days. John Yang reports.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: A fierce weather front moved into the Northeast U.S. after raking the South. In its wake, it left at least eight dead and scores of families counting their losses.

    John Yang has our report.

  • John Yang:

    Across parts of East Texas, where homes once stood, there is only wreckage.

  • Woman:

    My house was just lifted, just scattered over the backyard.

  • John Yang:

    Tornadoes flattened several communities in the state, as violent weather ripped through the South over the weekend. The National Weather Service confirms at least 16 twisters touched down across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

    One storm reached wind speeds of 136 miles an hour.

    Chris Davis is emergency manager for Cherokee County, Texas.

  • Chris Davis:

    Oh, it's just total devastation. It's twisted trees and power lines and many homes destroyed. We have had the storms, major storms, where we have had lots of destruction and lots of power lines and places damaged, but I have never seen them come this fast and tear up this much at one time.

  • John Yang:

    The victims included brothers Jace and Dilynn Cree in Pollok, Texas, ages 3 and 8.

    A tree crashed on their parents' car when the family was caught outside in the chaos. Neighbor Joe Spangler tried to help.

  • Joe Spangler:

    I heard someone knocking on my door. And it was the lady, the mom. And she was like: "Help me, help me."

    And that's where I noticed that the tree had fallen on their vehicle. When I got down there, I saw the size of the tree and how it was on the car, so I knew that it wasn't a good outcome.

  • John Yang:

    Elsewhere, the storm system brought driving rain and flash floods. Surging water left panicked people clinging to rescuers. In Starkville, Mississippi, tornado warning alarms blared as lightning lit up the sky over Mississippi State University.

    In West Monroe, Louisiana, lightning struck an unoccupied elementary school, setting it on fire. From there, the damage spread as the severe weather front moved north and east. It spun off a possible tornado in Ohio, tearing up power lines.

    Parts of Raleigh, North Carolina, woke early this morning to destruction, after heavy winds ripped through neighborhoods. And there may be more to come. Forecasters say more than 80 million Americans could be affected by new weather fronts moving across the country this week.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm John Yang.

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