The death toll has risen to over 40 after the South was battered by a third day of violent storms and tornadoes. The damage caused by the storms is expected to increase. "I would expect that total to rise, unfortunately," AccuWeather.com meteorologist Andy Mussoline told Reuters.
The storms led North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue to declare a state of emergency on Saturday night. The state has been hit hardest by the storms, with at least 23 people killed and hundreds of homes destroyed or damaged, reports The New York Times. Damage is being reported in 15 counties, and over 200,000 people are thought to be without power.
"Many communities have downed trees, downed power lines and a significant amount of debris on the roadways," Doug Hoell, the state's head of emergency services, told Reuters.
Deaths are also being reported in five other states: Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Virginia. The storm started in Oklahoma and has led to over 200 reported tornadoes, 50 of which have been confirmed. The storm is believed to be the most dangerous since 2008, when 57 were killed by tornadoes in the South and the Ohio Valley.