Tornadoes Strike Northeastern US, Killing Four

Posted June 1st, 2011 at 11:35 pm (UTC-5)
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At least two tornadoes ripped through a heavily populated area of the northeastern United States on Wednesday, killing four people and injuring others.

The latest in a string of twisters to hit the country in recent weeks struck the western area of the state of Massachusetts, a region where tornadoes are relatively rare. The tornadoes left a path of destruction along a 64-kilometer stretch, with at least 19 communities reporting that buildings, cars and other property had been damaged by the swirling winds.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency and called up 1,000 members of the National Guard to help with rescue work.

Tornadoes have killed more than 500 people in the United States this year, the highest annual toll since 1950.

Meanwhile, officials say they have accounted for all the people who were missing after the May 22 Joplin, Missouri tornado. The death toll of 134 makes it the deadliest single tornado to hit the U.S. since 1947.

Authorities have said the bodies of some victims of the Joplin tornado are so badly damaged, it has been necessary to use DNA and dental records to identify them.