Published: Apr 18, 2011 6:10 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 18, 2011 3:10 PM EDT

SANFORD, N.C.- North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue plans to tour areas that were hit hard by a ferocious storm system with killer twisters that ripped through the South, killing at least 45 people across six states.

In North Carolina alone, the storm claimed at least 21 lives, damaged hundreds of homes and left a swath of destruction unmatched by any spring storm since the mid-1980s.

The violent weather began Thursday in Oklahoma, where two people died, before cutting across the Deep South on Friday and hitting North Carolina and Virginia on Saturday. Authorities say seven people died in Arkansas; seven in Alabama; seven in Virginia; and one in Mississippi.

Perdue says she's been in contact with President Barack Obama, who pledged his support.