A devastating storm system ripped its way through the South yesterday, pummeling the region with tornadoes, flash flooding, and hail the size of softballs. The death toll shot up today to at least 47, reports NBC News, with emergency crews searching for more victims in hard-hit areas of Virginia and North Carolina. The latter alone saw 24 fatalities and declared an emergency after it weathered at least 62 tornadoes and the worst storm in 27 years, reports the AP. The death toll is expected to rise.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with everybody in North Carolina who has been through this horrible day," said North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue. A tornado ripped a 12- to 14-mile path through Virginia's coastal Gloucester County, where three deaths have been confirmed, along with 60 injuries. A tornado levelled a Lowes in Sanford, NC, where a manager herded 100 employees and customers into a back room. There were no injuries there. (Read more Virginia stories.)