Death toll jumps to 178 after violent storms hit the South

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) - The death toll from severe storms that punished five Southern U.S. states has jumped to 178 after Alabama sharply raised its tally of lives lost.

Alabama's state emergency management agency said early Thursday it had confirmed 128 deaths, up from at least 61 earlier.

Mississippi officials reported 32 dead in that state and Tennessee raised its report to six from one.

Another 11 have been killed in Georgia and one in Virginia.

The fierce storms Wednesday spawned tornadoes and winds that wiped out homes and businesses, forced a nuclear power plant to use backup generators and even prompted the evacuation of a National Weather Service office.