Eleven people were killed and more than 20 injured as violent storms rolled through parts of Georgia, authorities said Sunday.
The reports came a day after at least four people were killed in southern Mississippi early Saturday when a tornado roared through the Hattiesburg area, leveling homes, ripping off roofs and tossing trees into roadways across the region.
Catherine Howden, spokeswoman for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, told USA TODAY that seven people were killed in Cook County and two each in Brooks and Berrien counties. Howden could provide few details on the tragedies.
“We are working with the local officials to assess the situation,” she said. “This is ongoing, we are expecting severe weather throughout the day.”
The danger was far from finished across the region. The National Weather Service forecast a possible “major severe weather outbreak” into Sunday night.
“A severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreak is expected today across north Florida and south Georgia,” the weather service said. It said the “significant severe threat” would extend from central Florida and into South Carolina.
“A few long-track, strong tornadoes will be possible,” the weather service said.
Tornado rips through southern Mississippi, leaving 4 dead
Howden said that while all the Georgia deaths were related to severe weather, it was not immediately clear if tornadoes had touched down in the area.
In Mississippi, weather service preliminary reports indicated that an EF3 tornado tore through the Hattiesburg area with wind gusts estimated between 136 mph and 165 mph. The tornado touched down at about 4 a.m., leaving extensive damage for several blocks in its wake. The streets were littered with toppled tress and power lines, and thousands of homes and businesses were without power.
“The total debris clean-up will be weeks at this point,” said Lee Smithson, executive director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
Contributing: Hattiesburg (Miss.) American
Source: USA Today