JACKSON, Tenn. --- Federal and state emergency teams, insurance agents and utility workers have been dispatched to the five Southern states hit hard by Thursday's tornadoes that killed at least 57 people, destroyed homes and businesses, and damaged roads.

In Tennessee alone, the death count is 32. In Arkansas, 13 died. Seven died in Kentucky, and five died in Alabama, USA Today reported.

Because severe tornadoes in February are relatively rare, many residents didn't respond quickly to tornado warnings. Others didn't have the benefit of a tornado warning. Warnings are rather useless unless people are watching TV, listening to the radio or within range of sirens.

When people have a 15-minute warning about a storm, they are 41 percent more likely to survive, Dan Sutter, a tornado researcher and economist at the University of Texas Pan American, told USA Today.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials

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