A line of thunderstorms spun off high winds and howling tornadoes Sunday, killing at least 24 people and leaving a swath of shredded buildings, downed trees and power lines across six states.
Twenty people were killed in northwestern Tennessee, 12 of them in Dyer County and eight in neighboring Gibson County, officials in the Volunteer State said Monday.
Three people died in Missouri and another in Illinois, authorities said.
Dyer County Sheriff Jeff Holt said his county saw "absolute total destruction of homes."
"There's nothing left but a foundation on some houses," he said, adding that large trees across roadways had slowed the deployment of emergency equipment early on.
The National Weather Service said it had preliminary reports of 63 tornadoes overnight, according to The Associated Press.
In the Gibson County town of Newbern, Betty Sisk told AP she and her 13-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son tried to take cover during the storm but powerful winds threw them into the yard as their home was shredded.
"By the time the [tornado] sirens started going off, it was at our back door," Sisk told AP. "I didn't hear a train sound, I heard a roaring."
She and the children took shelter in a closet until the twister blew their house apart and threw them into the yard, where they huddled until the storm passed, AP said. Nothing remained of Sisk's wood-frame home Monday but the concrete steps.
A twister carved a path through a cluster of homes near the Jimmy Dean Foods plant north of Newbern, where several victims died, AP reported. The plant, which makes breakfast sausages and other food products, also sustained some damage, a security guard told AP.
Authorities released details of some of the deaths in Missouri and Illinois.