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22 Killed in Storms in Southern United States

U.S. officials say at least 22 people have been killed following severe weather that triggered widespread flooding in the southern states of Tennessee, Mississippi and Kentucky.

In Tennessee, heavy rains caused the Cumberland River to overflow, forcing hundreds of people to flee homes and businesses. The river, which runs through downtown Nashville, is expected to crest at more than three meters above flood stage.

States of emergency have been declared in Kentucky and Mississippi. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear said the safety of his state's citizens is his first priority and urged people who encounter high water to use extreme caution.

In Mississippi, Governor Haley Barbour ordered the National Guard to aid in emergency response efforts. The storms triggered tornadoes in Mississippi, which is trying to recover from similar weather late last month.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.