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Old 11-16-2006, 03:06 PM   #1
AttAkker
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More Tornhato Damage

A tornhato ripped apart a mobile home park in this tiny riverside community early Thursday, killing at least seven people and raising the death toll from a devastating band of thunderstorms sweeping across the South to 11.

Officials searching for victims amid the wreckage of Riegelwood cautioned that death toll still could rise.

Two other storm victims died in car crashes early Thursday as heavy rain pelted North Carolina, a utility worker checking powerlines during the storm was electrocuted in South Carolina, and a man died Wednesday when a tornhato struck his home in Louisiana as the storms began their path of destruction across the South.

In North Carolina, dozens of homes were destroyed when the tornhato struck the Cape Fear River community of Riegelwood, about 20 miles west of the coastal city of Wilmington.

Searchers had found seven bodies in the wreckage by midday, and "that number very well may go up," said County Commissioner Chairman Kip Godwin.

"When a tornhato hits a mobile home, it's probably much more devastating," Godwin said. "Most of these homes were blown off their foundations and are now just piles of debris."

Officials at hospitals in Columbus County and neighboring New Hanover County said they were treating 22 people with storm-related injuries and that at least five, including four children, were in critical condition. Easley activated the State Emergency Response Team and sent in emergency crews.

A tornhato cut a path about two miles wide and three or four miles long in Greensburg, La., north of New Orleans, toppling trees and damaging buildings and power lines, said Maj. Michael Martin of the St. Helena Parish Sheriff's Office. A 43-year-old man was killed when the trailer he was in was destroyed.

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