Nightly News   |  April 11, 2013

Tornadoes barrel through the South

A massive tornado barreled across Mississippi this afternoon killing at least one person and injuring several others. Warnings have since been posted in Louisiana, Alabama, Tennessee and Georgia. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reports.

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>>> weather making news again tonight. a strong line of storms that cuts the eastern half of the country like a knife from north to south. there have been very severe storms spinning off this system. tornadoes on the ground now for the second straight day and night with twisters in arkansas , mississippi and alabama. while it's all moving to the east it's punishing some of the places in its path. that includes birmingham, alabama, where we get our report from nbc's gabe gutierrez.

>> it's coming toward us.

>> reporter: a massive tornado barrelled across mississippi this afternoon, killing at least one person and injuring several others. dozens of homes and businesses in kemper county destroyed. preliminary reports say the tornado was on the ground for 56 miles.

>> on radar we saw extremely violent signature with this. we saw tornado debris signatures with this. we have seen video of the big wedge or big cone -shaped tornado.

>> we have seen houses split in half.

>> reporter: at daybreak in missouri and arkansas today, the first look at damage caused by tornadoes and high winds . trees tossed like matchsticks. sonny martin's family barely made it out alive.

>> i basically told her to run and get the baby.

>> reporter: gusts up to 100 miles per hour reported in some areas in northern arkansas .

>> it's breathtaking what a storm like this can do. these are pieces of people's lives that are just scattered across the area.

>> reporter: tractor-trailers flipped over along highway 65 .

>> i just started spinning out of control for a long time. then all of the sudden it just stopped.

>> reporter: the severe line continues to push east as night falls.

>> we have quite a line of thunderstorms that is going to slowly move east. there could be storms ahead of that as well.