Tornado kills 5 in central U.S.

At least five people were killed and hundreds of homes were damaged by a tornado that struck in Mississippi late a week ago. The severe weather struck in the northern part of the state and the full extent of damage was not known until daylight Sunday. In Pontotoc County, a twister cut a 23-mile path from one end of the county to the other. Mississippi Governor Ronnie Musgrove declared parts of Pontotoc County a disaster area and called for federal assistance. Two more fatalities were reported in Arkansas and Kansas. A large storm system that swept across the eastern half of the nation also dumped more than 20 inches of snow on northern Minnesota. Heavy rain caused flooding in Missouri and Kansas, Emergency Net reports. Hospitals in Mississippi and Tennessee treated at least 48 people for injuries. Authorities and emergency crews worked until dark Sunday, clearing a twisted mass of toppled trees and power lines near downtown Pontotoc, some 150 miles northeast of Jackson. In Arkansas, a 2-year-old boy died on Sunday of injuries suffered when a tornado destroyed the family's home on Saturday. His parents and a brother also were injured. A Kansas man died in a flooded creek. On the colder side of the storm, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa authorities closed miles of interstate highways due to blizzard conditions created by heavy snow and 30 mph winds. Three traffic deaths were blamed on the storm in Minnesota and Nebraska.

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