Tornadoes kill at least 6 in southern U.S.
SLEDGE, Mississippi (CNN) -- Violent storms ripped through the South early Saturday, killing at least six people in Mississippi and Arkansas, local officials said.
Two people died in their homes after a tornado ripped through Sledge, according to the Quitman County, Mississippi, Sheriff's Department.
About 10 others in Sledge, a town of about 500 in northern Mississippi, were injured when the storm hit a residential area at about 2:40 a.m., said Quitman County Deputy Charles Sims.
"It's pretty much just a mess all around here," said Bill Taylor, a longtime farmer in the area. "There's lots of trees down all over the countryside."
Taylor said the wife of one of his employees died when the storms destroyed her house and injured her husband. Two large tractor-trailers were tossed into a cotton gin and a local business was also destroyed, he said.
The storm also claimed two other lives, according to Mississippi Emergency Management officials.
Near Wilmont, Arkansas, a tornado killed a man and a woman died, said Judge Larry Kinnard, administrator of Ashley County, Arkansas. Six others were injured in the rural southeastern Arkansas county, and about six homes were damaged.
The damage could have been much worse, Kinnard said.
"If the tornado had been a half-mile east, all of Wilmot would be gone," he said.
The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down near Jackson in central Mississippi, damaging some 60 homes in the state's capital and injuring at least 18 people in Madison County, officials said.
A dispatcher for the Madison County Sheriff's Department said the department received reports of small buildings being picked up by the storm and tossed as the storm moved through about 5:30 a.m.
"One person called and said he walked outside and saw a funnel cloud take his roof off," the dispatcher told CNN.
Ambulances took at least 18 people from the Jackson suburb of Fairfield to several area hospitals, the dispatcher said. He was not aware of any other injuries.
The storm moved east over the course of the day, downing power lines, uprooting trees and causing structural damage in at least four Alabama counties.
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