Nightly News | April 16, 2011
>>> again. the same weather system that has already killed at least 17 people in the south this week moved up the east coast today, spawning more destructive tornadoes this afternoon. in raleigh, north carolina , falling debris and flooding have tens of thousands without power tonight. there are reports of widespread tornado damage in central north carolina . tornado watches along the mid-atlantic today have extended as far north as pennsylvania. this after two days of vie lentd storms left a trail of death and destruction from oklahoma on through alabama . and tuscaloosa, alabama , is where the weather channel 's jim cantore begins our coverage tonight. jim?
>> reporter: good evening, lester. so much destruction across much of alabama , scenes like this where trees have been uprooted by wind, pushed over, sitting on top of this house right here. amazing one tree down and another left standing. you don't have to look too far to see tarps on rooftops and power poles snooped in half. this same storm system shifted east and north and continues to cause tornadic destruction.
>> that's a tornado, man.
>> reporter: as a huge tornado swept through raleigh, north carolina , the storm was captured by an amateur photographer. the destructive winds damaged homes and businesses and destroyed a lowe's store in nearby stanford. the tornado was so massive it sent debris falling miles from where it struck. at least 150 tornadoes have been reported in the last three days, and counting. by far the biggest outbreak this spring. in sandy springs , georgia, the cleanup began from severe winds that battered the town overnight.
>> one power pole was actually snapped like a toothpick littering this road right here.
>> oh, my god, this is not good.
>> reporter: since thursday, the twisters and strong winds have ripped across the south, killing two people in oklahoma , seven in arkansas, seven in alabama , one in mississippi, and fears of fatalities in north carolina . dozens have been injured across several states as the tornadoes have demolished dozens of homes and left tens of thousands without power.
>> ultimate vortex.
>> reporter: in tushka, oklahoma , a tornado tore through the town of 350 killing two. a path of destroyed loems right left next to the others untouched. the school reduced to rubble.
>> most of my classmates have been here since preschool never again since students.
>> reporter: in alabama , the worst outbreak in five years.
>> i felt the house tremble, felt a strong wind. i told everybody it's time to get downstairs.
>> i saw the wind pick up this big oak tree and tosses it on the power lines .
>> reporter: today crews work to destroy power, but the destruction is so extensive national weather survey teams will have to assess the damage by flying from one end of the state to the other.
>> i want to say 15 to 20 tornadoes that occurred throughout the state. that's just preliminary. we might find a lot more after that.
>> reporter: as this dangerous storm system makes its way north and event, the impacts are far from over . lester, an average april usually yields about 150 tornadoes. we've seen more than that in just three days.