by AUBREY REBELO
This weekend, at least eighteen people were killed and forty-three more injured in Georgia and Mississippi after thunderstorms and tornadoes ripped through the South, leaving some items standing and some items hanging by a thread, some houses whole and others blown away to shreds.
Catherine Howden, the spokeswoman for Georgia’s emergency management, said fourteen people had died and twenty-three had been injured in central and southern parts of the state; she said there had been up to twenty reports of tornadoes. George Wetzel, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Peachtree City, Georgia, said that in the past three days, a “strong low-pressure” system had moved east across the South, the weather had been unseasonably warm, with moisture moving north from the Gulf of Mexico, in which the tornadoes were formed.
A statement from Mississippi’s emergency agency said a tornado had caused extensive damage in the southern part of the state early Saturday, killing at least four people near Hattiesburg and injuring more than twenty others. Governor Phil Bryant called for a state of emergency as power lines and debris blocked roads. Disaster relief teams were formed by community members to help clean up the communities.
In Georgia, an intense round of thunderstorms that started Saturday morning produced a number of tornadoes, and a second round overnight produced flooding rains, more than six inches of rain in twenty-four hours just east of Albany. The weather also caused damage in Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas; however, it has been confirmed that no one has been killed or injured in those states. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned of a “high risk” of severe weather in Georgia and parts of Alabama and Florida. Since Saturday morning, thirty tornadoes were reported in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi the agency said.