Tornadoes batter U.S. states

Severe storms battered several states Tuesday, toppling trees onto homes in Arkansas and blowing cars off of tracks in Illinois.
Scott Dawson tries to remove the licence plate from his car that was destroyed during a tornado in Fayetteville, N.C. (James Robison/Associated Press)

Severe storms battered several states Tuesday, toppling trees onto homes in Arkansas and blowing cars off of tracks in Illinois.

Tornadoes and straight-line winds killed at least 46 people in six states less than a week ago, but the latest bout of storms and tornadoes that pounded portions of the South and Midwest in recent days have caused lots of damage but no fatalities.

A woman became North Carolina's 24th storm victim, dying from her injuries on Wednesday. She was in a Bertie County group home where two others died in Saturday's storm. Bertie County suffered half of the state's reported deaths from the tornadoes.

North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue on Wednesday thanked the White House for declaring 18 counties disaster areas so they can get federal aid.

Officials are still tallying the damage, but the latest figures show nearly 6,200 homes damaged and about 440 destroyed across North Carolina. About 5,000 of the damaged homes were in Raleigh.

Officials Wednesday morning were investigating 32 separate reports of tornadoes across a number of U.S. states.

In central Arkansas's Pulaski County, where a tornado killed a mother and her son last week in Little Rock, emergency officials said the storms hadn't claimed any victims by late Tuesday night.

"We were still recovering from last week's storms, so if this is the brunt of it, then, yeah, it's quite a relief," said Lt. Carl Minden, a spokesman for the Pulaski County sheriff's office.

In Missouri, the Pike County Sheriff's Department said three tornadoes were spotted in a 45-minute period. Some homes and bars were damaged. Tornadoes were also reported near St. Louis, and the city's Lambert Airport was closed for a time.

Northeast of St. Louis in Illinois' Macoupin County, Emergency Management director Jim Pitchford said two homes were destroyed and 15 others damaged.

"It's pretty clear to us it was a tornado — at least one, maybe two," Pitchford said.

Also in Illinois, the National Weather Service reported that high winds managed to blow some rail cars off the tracks in Taylorsville.

In Garland County, Ark., high winds sent a tree crashing down on an occupied home, but the family escaped unharmed, after calling 911, said Joy Sanders, the county's director of emergency management.

In Oklahoma, the storms seemed to spare the town of Tushka, where a large tornado last week killed two people, injured at least 43 others and damaged or destroyed dozens of homes and businesses.

"All we got in our area were a few sprinkles," Emergency Management Director Roger McIninich said. "We kind of slid past that one."

Thousands of people from Oklahoma to Illinois were left without power after the storms.