Tornadoes, storms kill at least 14 people and leave dozens injured in south-eastern United States

Homes were badly damaged or even levelled as a series of tornadoes and twisters tore through several states on Wednesday (local time), leaving a trail of destruction and ruining Christmas for some.

Emergency declarations were issued in Mississippi and Tennessee, the two states hardest hit by the severe weather, which also hit Georgia, North and South Carolina, Virginia and Washington DC.

One large tornado tore a 160km path through northern Mississippi, demolishing or heavily damaging more than 100 homes and other buildings before ploughing into western Tennessee, authorities said.