Tornados Devastate Southern U.S. Over the Weekend
A state of emergency remained across several counties in Georgia.
Severe weather across parts of the southeastern United States left at least 18 people dead over the weekend. Flooding and damage was reported in parts of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.
Georgia saw 12 fatalities, as well as heavy flooding across seven counties, including Cook County, Reuters reported. Tornados pummeled a mobile home park, flattening it and causing several of the state’s deaths.
“I urge all Georgians to exercise caution and vigilance in order to remain safe and prevent further loss of life or injuries,” Georgia Governor Nathan Deal said in a news release over the weekend.
A state of emergency will remain in effect for the next week across seven counties in Georgia that border on Florida. Across the affected areas in the southern U.S., local authorities said they expected death tolls to continue to rise as rescue workers gained access to more sites of destruction.
Mississippi saw great damage in the Hattiesburg area, where a tornado smashed several buildings. In Alabama and in the Birmingham area in particular, thousands of people were left without power, AL.com reported.
After the series of tornadoes and thunderstorms had wreaked havoc across the southeastern region, some storms turned south toward Florida and another system made its way up the coast toward New York.
President Donald Trump promised to help the communities across the south and in Georgia in particular on Sunday, ahead of a swearing in for his senior staff: “They all got hit hard,” Trump said, adding, “The tornadoes were vicious and powerful and strong.”
January tornados are fairly rare, as the usual tornado season takes place during the spring, CBS News reported. The number of January tornados in the U.S. has varied greatly over the past decade, seeing a high of 84 in 2008 and just four in 2014.