50 Dead as Violent Storms Rip Across South

LAFAYETTE, Tenn. (AP) - The National Weather Service has posted tornado watches for parts of southern Alabama, the Florida Panhandle and western Georgia, but the storm system that spawned a deadly cluster of tornadoes in five Southern states overnight appears to be weakening as it moves eastward.

Rescue crews, some with the help of the National Guard, have been going door-to-door looking for victims in Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama. At least 50 people have been reported dead.

Residents have been trying to salvage what they can from homes reduced to piles of debris.

In Washington, President Bush said he called the governors of the five states to assure them the administration was ready to help and to deal with any emergency requests. He says those affected should "know the American people are standing with them."

The loss of life was most severe in Tennessee, where 26 people were killed. Emergency officials say 13 were killed in Arkansas, seven in Kentucky and four in Alabama.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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