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Tornadoes and violent thunderstorms threaten millions in South

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Storm warnings and watches are in effect in more than half a dozen states. Thunderstorms and tornadoes are threatening nearly 40 million Americans in the South. David Begnaud takes a look.

Video Transcript

NORAH O'DONNELL: We're gonna turn now to that outbreak of tornadoes, hail, and violent thunderstorms threatening tens of millions across the South. Tornadoes touched down today in several states causing some serious damage. Watches and warnings are posted in more than half a dozen states, from Oklahoma to Alabama. CBS's David Begnaud reports tonight from the danger zone.

DAVID BEGNAUD: There was a tornado in Whistler, Mississippi that tore through this chicken farm today, shredding almost every building in sight. It was part of the massive front that's affecting more than 6 million people, from Texas all the way to Georgia. Twisters touched down in rural communities throughout Mississippi and Alabama. There were hundreds of kids at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa who were forced to shelter in place today.

- Literally, like a tornado.

DAVID BEGNAUD: This driver got quite the surprise in his rearview mirror--

- It's so crazy going to [INAUDIBLE], man.

DAVID BEGNAUD: --as he drove past a tornado that touched down right after lunchtime. Meanwhile, the powerful storm produced heavy rains and winds that shut down schools and even vaccination sites across parts of the Gulf Coast.

Tonight, we are in central Alabama. The woman who lives in this home told me she was on her phone watching a live stream as the tornado got closer to her house. She heard them say take cover. So she went in the bathtub with her baby and her boyfriend, put a mattress on top of them, and literally watched as the storm approached and hit their home. It blew out all the windows on the home and the vehicle. But the family's OK.

Norah, one of the main weather guys in this area told people, folks, this was just the preshow. The main force of this dynamic weather event rolls in tonight.

NORAH O'DONNELL: All right. Be safe out there. David Begnaud, thank you.