Communities Sift Through Debris from Sunday's Deadly Storms


Published 04/28 2014 10:47AM

Updated 04/28 2014 11:25AM

(LITTLE ROCK)  At least 17 people were killed by a line of powerful thunderstorms that tore through the southern United States Sunday sparking deadly tornadoes.

At least 16 of the victims are in Arkansas. Authorities are now investigating a 30-mile trail of destruction that may have been caused by a single, massive twister.

Arkansas residents woke up Monday in one suburban Little Rock neighborhood to homes reduced to rubble, cars twisted and bent, 56 structures in one subdivision alone, all gone.

"As I was driving back, I saw nothing but black. It was huge. I saw the rotation," said Zeth Watts, survivor.

A drone captured the twister's 80-mile path as it was heading east. The tornado carved a path of destruction carved through the middle of one community one home after another, obliterated.

Eyewitnesses say it only took seconds for the tornado to flatten their homes.

Judy Garrett and her husband rode out the storm in a safe room.

"We opened the door we couldn't get out because there was debris everything we lost everything," said Garrett.

Home video caught a funnel cloud crossing interstate I-40, trapping drivers in their cars.

In Vilonia, Arkansas, rescue crews are going door-to-door searching for survivors.

"It is a slow process because we've got people and dogs going through the rubble and trying to find whoever we can and whatever we can," said David Houge, Faulkner County public information officer.

As the sun set on Sunday, tornadoes began ripping across Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.

James and Michelle Laidler recorded their narrow escape on their cell phone.

"Ahhh!! Jim!! It's coming right at us Jim," Michelle shouted to her husband.

Forecasters say there is a new threat for severe weather Monday afternoon when the storm front moves into Alabama and Mississippi.

President Obama, speaking in the Philippines Monday, expressed condolences for the tornado victims and said the federal government is on the ground to help.

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