Violent weather including two tornadoes roared across Alabama in the middle of the night, injuring more than 100 people and killing two.
More than 200 homes were destroyed, the Red Cross said, and a further 200 heavily damaged.
The storm awoke families and many huddled together as winds howled outside. The area of central Alabama near Birmingham has a history of being a tornado alley.
Last April, about 20 people were killed in Jefferson County, most of them close to Oak Grove. In April 1998 a tornado killed 34 people, injured 260 and destroyed Oak Grove High School.
On Toadvine Cemetery Rd in Oak Grove, Amber and Russ Butler's trailer was scattered across a pasture. The couple took cover in a relative's brick home and they were not injured. Further down the road, Janice Sims lost her husband, Bobby, and her home.
"They have a camper buried that they use to get down in during storms, but it happened so quick they couldn't get to it," said Sims' sister Mary Roberts. Janice Sims is in hospital but should recover. In Clay, northeast of Birmingham, 16-year-old Christina Nicole Heichelbech was killed.