A tornado ripped through the small Amish community of Ethridge in southern Tennessee on Thursday, killing three and injuring at least 20.
The tornado also damaged 32 homes and destroyed the town’s utility building, knocking out power to the community of 550 about 70 miles southwest of Nashville.
One-third of the roads in Lawrence County were closed.
The twister was one of at least 44 tornadoes that hit the state Thursday as storms moved across the Midwest and South with high winds and torrential rain, authorities said.
Earlier in the day, a tornado slammed into a Nashville mall, injuring at least 19.
It damaged about two dozen businesses and flipped cars and tractortrailers.
“Believe me, it was terrifying,” said Barb Draper, an employee at the mall.
An apartment building about two miles from the mall was destroyed by the twister, which struck about noon.
Nashville Memorial Hospital reported 16 people were treated and released for minor injuries. Three people were admitted.
Elsewhere, tornadoes were reported in eastern Missouri, Texas and Kentucky, where 30 children were slightly injured when the roof was ripped off their school.
High wind knocked out power to 25,000 customers in West Virginia.
Meanwhile, anxieties rose Thursday along with the Missouri River, as hundreds of people who suffered during the Flood of ‘93 packed up and moved out.
Missouri has gotten 5 to 10 inches of rain since Sunday, and more is forecast through the weekend.
The rain follows a couple of weeks of wet weather upstream in South Dakota and Nebraska that had already swollen the river.
Two deaths were blamed on flooding in Missouri: One man drowned when he tried to drive through a flooded creek, and one traffic death was blamed on standing water.
Hundreds of people were also evacuated in Illinois.
Spring flooding along the Missouri River’s lowlands isn’t unusual; residents expect a flood about every five to 10 years.
And this week’s high water is a far cry from the 1993 flood, which was caused by a month and a half of rain measured in feet. That disaster was blamed for 48 deaths and up to $16 billion in damage in nine Midwest states.
But with memories of 1993 still fresh, and broken levees not all replaced along the river, flood survivors are taking no chances this time.