Thirteen people were killed Thursday when tornados slammed at least two Alabama towns, causing widespread damage, media in the southeastern US state quoted officials as saying.
Eight people were killed in the small town of Enterprise, where the roof of a high school collapsed, media cited the Alabama Emergency Management Agency (EMA) as saying.
Another five people reportedly died in the town of Miller's Ferry as violent storms rolled across the state.
Dozens more people were taken to hospitals.
"It appears that a lot of students there have injuries," EMA spokeswoman Yasamie Richardson told the Montgomery Advertiser daily.
"It is complete devastation," Sheriff Russell Thomas told WSFA television as he assisted in rescue efforts in Enterprise. "It is very tragic."
One volunteer helping look for survivors in Enterprise told the TV station: "I pulled out two dead little girls."
Alabama Governor Bob Riley announced he had asked about 100 National Guardsmen to head to Enterprise to assist in recovery efforts and that additional troops were standing by.
"Enterprise has suffered major and widespread damage," he said. "The state is and will continue to offer all available assistance," Riley said.
"Cars are overturned and kids are being taken away in stretchers," Enterprise resident Maria Finch told the Montgomery Advertiser.
Alabama Power said about 15,000 homes across the state were without power Thursday afternoon.