At least 23 people have died after a tornado tore through the US state of Mississippi Friday night.

More people are thought to be trapped under the rubble of destroyed buildings.

The twister caused devastation in several rural towns, where trees and power lines were torn down and tens of thousands of power outages were reported.

Several other southern states are also braced for powerful storms.

Hail the size of golf balls and heavy rainfall were reported in several areas of the state.

It is not yet clear whether one or several tornadoes hit the area.