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A tornado described as around 1.6 kilometres wide has struck the US state of Mississippi. In its path was the city of Hattiesburg.

The twister tore down one of the main streets, causing severe damage to homes, commercial buildings and the University of Southern Mississippi.

At least 13 people were injured and the state governor has declared an emergency. The tornado surprised many as they are less common in winter.

Elsewhere in the US, a mass clean-up is underway after a blizzard dumped around a metre of snowfall along the northeast belt.

Nine people were killed and the storm left hundreds of thousands without power between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic coast.

Nearly 6,000 flights were cancelled over the weekend and cars were ordered to stay off the roads.

New York avoided the worst of the blast but in nearby Long Island, even snow ploughs got stuck.

The midwest is bracing itself next as the winter storm moves further inland.

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