At least five people are dead and dozens more are injured after tornadoes tore through Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi, forecasters and local media report.
Three people were killed on Tuesday night in Rosalie, a small community in northeastern Alabama, where at least one tornado was reported by a weather spotter, the National Weather Service said on its website.
"Night time tornadoes can be particularly dangerous since they are difficult to see and can be quick-moving, all while many people are asleep," the National Weather Service said in a statement.
A couple was killed in Tennessee's Polk County, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported, citing a law enforcement official. Several dozen others were injured in the state, including at least 20 people in McMinn County, ABC affiliate WATE reported.
In Ider, Alabama, four children and several adults were injured when a tornado flattened a daycare centre, the National Weather Service said. It said the group was seeking refuge inside the daycare centre, which was closed at the time.
The National Weather Service fielded more than two dozen reports of tornadoes as the storm system, packing hail and heavy downpours, moved through eastern Texas, northern Mississippi and Alabama and into southeast Tennessee late on Tuesday and early on Wednesday morning.
The system also destroyed homes and businesses, downed power lines and snapped trees, according to the weather service and local media.