Wind-driven rain and more tornadoes lashed North Carolina on Saturday, as stunned residents throughout the Southeast picked up the pieces from an earlier storm that left at least 21 people dead and hundreds homeless.
One child was seriously injured when a tornado touched down in Rockingham County, N.C., but for the most part the new round of storms didn't measure up to the intensity of those the day before.At least 75,000 customers of Duke Power Co. remained without power, and officials said it might be Monday before service was restored.
As survivors searched through ruined houses for further casualties, they marveled at the destructive force of the thunderstorms that lashed the region Thursday and Friday, snapping trees, leveling homes and gorging rivers from Texas to Virginia.
"It's like you took a chain saw and cut down all the trees and leveled all the houses," said Bill Seagle, a member of the Upper Cleveland Rescue Squad in Cleveland County, N.C.
In Virginia, four people died when they were swept out of their vehicles in rain-swollen rivers.
A 3-year-old girl and her six-month-old sister were killed in Culpeper County after their mother was flushed out of the driver's seat of their car as it crossed a bridge and the vehicle was swept downstream, police said.
In Buchanan County, a woman and her son were killed after their pickup truck collided with another truck on Virginia 624 and the pickup was forced into the Powell River. The two were swept to their deaths, and a third person in their truck was missing.
Elsewhere in Virginia, searchers found four canoeists who had been reported missing on the Rappahannock River. In North Carolina, search parties rescued six members of a Boy Scout canoeing party whose boats capsized.
Divers found the body of a 9-year-old at the bottom of a swollen drainage canal in Louisiana. The boy had fallen in while reaching for a stick.
Altogether, seven people were confirmed dead in Texas, four in North Carolina, three in Louisiana, two in South Carolina, four in Virginia and one in Oklahoma. More than 100 people were treated for injuries.
"The awesome power of these storms is unbelievable," said Al Warlick of the North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety after he viewed the devastation from a helicopter. "It's simply amazing we don't have more fatalities and injuries."
Warlick said 41 homes were destroyed and 59 more sustained severe damage in the worst-hit areas.
The weather eased Saturday, with only isolated showers and a few thunderstorms in most parts of the Southeast. However, heavy rain, hail and winds up to 75 mph raked North Carolina, downing trees and power lines and making a difficult job even harder for those cleaning up.
Heavy rain also was reported in New England and the mid-Atlantic states, while parts of the Midwest were chilled by record low temperatures and snow.