Tornadoes, storms rip US South, at least 295 dead

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  • Damage over several states, Alabama worst with 204 dead

  • Mile-wide tornado tears through university town

  • Damage costs may be in billions of dollars, expert says (Updates death toll, adds FEMA chief)

By Verna Gates

TUSCALOOSA, Ala., April 28 (Reuters) - Tornadoes and violent storms tore through seven Southern states, killing at least 306 people and causing billions of dollars of damage in one of the deadliest swarm of twisters in U.S. history.

President Barack Obama described the loss of life as "heartbreaking" and called the damage to homes and businesses "nothing short of catastrophic." He promised strong federal support for rebuilding and plans to view the damage on Friday.

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