- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A three-day outbreak of twisters and other violent weather that pulverized homes from the Midwest to the Deep South has killed at least 35 people. Here are some stories from people in Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama who made it through the frightening chaos.

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In one hard-hit community, Mars Hill, about 12 miles southwest of Louisville, Miss., a mix of poultry farms, mobile homes, single-family homes, and open fields dot the landscape. William Quinn, 25, was removing valuables from his flattened mobile home that overlooked the Pine Ridge Farm.

Quinn recalled seeing the tornado approach on Monday and running with his fiancee more than 100 yards to his boss’s house, also located near the farm. Quinn, his fiancee, his boss, and his boss’s daughter all hid under the house as the tornado blew over.

“The tornado was here. We could see it. It was kind of a grayish purple,” he said. Everyone survived though the boss’s house suffered heavy damage.

Quinn’s mobile home was nothing but rubble.

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When the TVs switched back from tornado warnings to regular programming, Darrell Haney thought his community outside Fayetteville, Tenn., was out of the woods. Then, live weather reports cut back in, warning of a possible tornado as little as a minute away from his home.

Haney quickly retrieved two grandchildren and huddled in an interior bathroom with his wife, daughter and son-in-law. Almost immediately, he said, a tree crashed into a front room where one of the children had been sleeping. Then the roof was lifted off of the master bedroom.

“You know, the house is being torn apart around you, and we’re just crying out, ‘God protect us,’” Haney said Tuesday. “Because at that point you’re totally hopeless and helpless.”

Surveying the damage, the pastor and a school bus driver tried to put a positive light on the destruction, which included his nearby church and the school bus.

“Everything’s gone,” he said. “But the main thing is, everyone’s OK, the lives are taken care of.”

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Fred Muawad has been through this before. Three years ago, his popular Daylight Donuts in Vilonia, Ark., survived a tornado.

This time, it didn’t. The strong twister that struck the town of 3,800 on Sunday virtually wiped away the strip mall that housed Muawad’s small shop.

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