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JOPLIN, Mo. -- As emergency workers in Joplin searched Thursday for more than 230 people listed as missing after a tornado tore through the city, one was sitting in a wooden chair outside the wreckage of her home, cuddling her cat.

Sally Adams, 75, said neighbors rescued her Sunday after the storm destroyed her house and took her to a friend's home. When the Associated Press told Adams she was on the missing list, she laughed and said, "Get me off of there!"

Missouri officials said they believed many of the missing people were safe but simply hadn't been in touch with friends and family. The Associated Press found that was the case with at least a dozen of the 232 still unaccounted for Thursday.

But not all of the stories will end so well. Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr announced Thursday that the death toll had risen to 126. No new survivors have been pulled from the rubble since Tuesday.

Elsewhere Thursday, many people counted themselves lucky after powerful storms swept through the region for the third time in four days but apparently claimed no lives.

Dozens of people were injured, mobile homes were flipped and roofs were torn off houses when tornadoes and thunderstorms hit Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and other states Wednesday evening.

Early Thursday, forecasters withdrew a slew of tornado watches in the South and said the heavy weather that pounded the Midwest in recent days had finally receded.

Wednesday's storms followed a deadly outbreak of violent weather a day earlier in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kansas that killed at least 16 people, including a 3-year-old Oklahoma boy whose body was found Thursday.

The weather service canceled tornado watches and warnings for most of Mississippi, northwest Alabama and central Kentucky on Thursday. Still, Jared Guyer, a forecaster at the NOAA National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center, in Norman, Okla., said the Appalachians, parts of the southeastern U.S., and the upper Ohio Valley into the northeastern U.S. remained at "severe risk."

On Thursday night, authorities said storms blowing through metro Atlanta toppled a tree, killing two people in their truck, and knocked out power to about 200,000 customers statewide.

 

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