Storm-ravaged Mississippi on Sunday struggled with the aftermath of a huge tornado that tore across the southern US state and killed at least 25 people, with devastated communities bracing for a fresh bout of extreme weather.
Shocked rescue workers surveyed the damage with homes shredded, buildings flattened, and cars smashed together amid piles of debris in Rolling Fork, a small town all but wiped out by nature's wrath.
Amid grieving and search-and-rescue operations, and after President Joe Biden declared an emergency which freed up disaster aid, Mississippians were girding for more storms on Sunday which the National Weather Service warned could bring "strong" tornadoes, damaging winds and hail the size of tennis balls.
The earlier weather system, mixed with thunderstorms and driving rain, left a trail of havoc more than 160 kilometres long across the state late on Friday, slamming several towns. Dozens of people have been injured, and officials say the death toll could rise.
The NWS gave the tornado a rating of four out of five on the Enhanced Fujita scale, cutting a path up to three-quarters of a mile wide, with ferocious wind gusts up to 320 kilometres per hour.
Under warm spring sunshine and cloudless blue skies, stunned residents were seen walking among obliterated homes, sifting through debris and comforting one another as crews fought fires and cleared emergency routes.
The American Red Cross moved into a National Guard building in Rolling Fork hours after the storm razed much of the town, which is home to fewer than 2,000 people.
An area was set up as an infirmary and boxes full of cereal bars and baby diapers were shuttled in to provide food and medical support for storm victims who had lost everything, said John Brown, a Red Cross official for Alabama and Mississippi.
Twenty-five people were killed and dozens more injured, according to Mississippi's emergency management agency. (AFP)