Two days of deadly storms barreling through the South killed at least 17 people in four states - some of them parents and children asleep in their beds, officials said Saturday.
Deaths were reported in Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Mississippi, making it the nation's deadliest storm of the season.
Henley Hollon, who lives in Boone's Chapel, Alabama, about 25 miles from Montgomery, said his brother's family was killed when their trailer was ripped from its foundation.
He said he thought the worst was over Friday, but then the winds started to pick up.
"It got up real fast. The lights went out," he said. "We had to feel our way into the hall. It lasted less than a minute."
When he went across the street, he found that his brother's mobile home was gone.
Hollon said his brother, Willard Hollon, and Willard's two adult children, Steve and Cheryl, were killed.
"The trailer was anchored down and the anchors are gone," said Autauga County Chief Deputy Sheriff Joe Sedinger. "But the steps are still there and the blooms are still on the flowers."
In Alabama's Washington County, about 50 miles north of Mobile, a mother and her two children were among those killed, said state emergency management agency director Art Faulkner.
The havoc began late Thursday in Oklahoma, where two people were killed after five tornadoes touched down.
The front tore through Tennessee, Louisiana and Georgia yesterday and leveled or damaged homes, businesses and churches in Mississippi, where one person was killed.
An elderly woman was pinned down by her collapsed ceiling in the small Alabama town of Geiger. She was rescued without injury, said Sumter County Emergency Management Director Margaret A. Bishop-Gulley.
"It's just been one catastrophe after another," she said.
People are so accustomed to violent weather that many ignored or slept through warnings from forecasters.
A lightening-struck tree fell into a home and killed an 18-month-old girl and her father as they slept in Crystal Springs, Ala.
In Little Rock, Ark., winds knocked a tree into a home and killed a woman and her 8-year-old son in his bed.
In the Arkansas town of Bald Knob, a 6-year-old boy was killed when the top of a tree crashed through his home while he slept