A tornado hit the southeastern United States Thursday, killing at least eight people and raising the number of deaths from recent storms to at least 12.

Local media say the tornado destroyed about 30 houses in a mobile home neighborhood in the coastal North Carolina city of Riegelwood. The storm also shut down major roads.

Emergency officials in North Carolina were searching for four missing people.

Television footage showed downed trees and power lines, leaving more than 13,000 people without power.

The storm system began in the southern United States and moved up the east coast, causing flooding in Virginia and Maryland. Trees were downed, and people were stranded in their cars. In addition to those killed by the tornado, four other people were killed in storm-related accidents.

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