Deadly tornadoes batter southern US states

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At least 13 people have died after storms triggered tornadoes and flooding across several southern US states.

Tornadoes ripped through Louisiana, Texas and Mississippi on Sunday, while severe storms also hit parts of Alabama and Georgia on Monday.

More than 900,000 households were without power on Monday morning local time.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MSEMA) confirmed deaths across three counties on Sunday.

US media reported a man in Georgia was killed on Monday morning when a tree fell on a house.

In Louisiana, a number of homes were destroyed in the city of Monroe. The city’s official social media account initially reported only minor injuries.

CNN reports that the storms are moving north, and are threatening to hit states on the East Coast.

Sheltering during lockdown

In Mississippi, three deaths were confirmed in Jefferson Davis County, two in Lawrence and one in Walthall.

Last week, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) issued guidelines for taking shelter during the coronavirus pandemic.

The vast majority of residents in the US are under stay-at-home orders.

“Do not let the virus prevent you from seeking refuge from a tornado,” the AMS said.

It advised making shelter plans in advance in homes or with neighbours, friends or families.

Public shelters in many communities are closed because of lockdown measures.

MSEMA urged people to continue to follow social distancing guidelines, even if they need to seek safety in a public shelter.

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey declared a state of emergency on Sunday that suspended Covid-19 mitigation measures that may have prevented people from gathering in public shelters in the state.

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