YAZOO CITY, Miss. -- Tornadoes ripped through the Southeast on Saturday, killing 10 people in Mississippi and injuring more than a dozen. Roofs were torn off businesses, homes were splintered, vehicles were overturned and roads were blocked by toppled trees.
Gov. Haley Barbour said there was "utter obliteration" in parts of Yazoo County, an area known for cotton, catfish, blues music and picturesque hills rising from the flat Mississippi Delta.
Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said five people were killed in Choctaw County, including two children. Four victims were in Yazoo County, and one was in Holmes County.
More than 15 other counties also reported damage. The swath of debris forced rescuers to pick up some of the injured on all-terrain vehicles in the west-central part of the state.
Tornadoes also were reported in Louisiana, Arkansas and Alabama, and the severe weather continued to track eastward.
In Yazoo City, about 40 miles north of Jackson, Malcolm Gordon, 63, stood with members of his family peering through a broken window. Above them, the roof was gone, a tree lay across part of the house and power lines stretched across the yard. The smell of shredded pine trees hung in the warm breeze.
Gordon looked around at the devastation. "It sounded like a train coming down that road," he said. Gordon and his wife, Diane, hid in a closet while much of the neighborhood was blown away.
"I'll just bulldoze what's left and start over," he said.
Elsewhere, stunned residents stood on a hill overlooking the destruction. A National Guard helicopter sat nearby and later took the governor on an aerial tour of the town he grew up in.
"Sad, man," said Rafael Scott, 22, shaking his head. "It's really hard to believe it. I heard they found a couple of bodies."
Three broken crosses stood near a flattened church, and religious materials were scattered among twisted steel, broken wood and furniture. A nearby funeral home was reduced to rubble. In a patch of woods, pieces of tin were twisted high up in the broken trees.
Josh Nicholson, 26, was driving home through the storm with his wife, 1-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter when a power line fell across the road in front their sport utility vehicle.
"There was nowhere we could go," he said.
Nicholson and his wife took the children out of their car seats and they all huddled in the back of the vehicle. All of the sudden, Nicholson said, the vehicle spun around and a tree clipped part of the SUV where the 3-year-old had been sitting. Nobody was hurt.
"It was scary," Nicholson said.
Thousands across the state were without electricity, and downed power lines and trees blocked roads. At least four people had been brought by four-wheeler to a triage center at an old discount store parking lot, Yazoo city Mayor McArthur Straughter said as sirens whined in the background.
Jim Pollard, a spokesman for American Medical Response ambulance service, said four patients from Yazoo County were airlifted and 17 others were taken to hospitals. At least four people were in critical condition.