SANFORD, N.C. -- Authorities say the death toll from a ferocious storm system bristling with twisters that ripped through the South totals at least 44 across six states.
North Carolina reported at least 21 deaths statewide. The storms damaged hundreds of homes and left a swath of destruction unmatched by any spring storm since the mid-1980s.
The violent weather began Thursday in Oklahoma, where two people died, before cutting across the Deep South on Friday and hitting North Carolina and Virginia on Saturday. Authorities said seven people died in Arkansas; seven in Alabama; six in Virginia; and one in Mississippi
North Carolina's state emergency management agency said it had reports of 23 fatalities from Saturday's storms, but local officials confirmed only 21 deaths to The Associated Press.