Georgia Man Killed, Violent Tornadoes Sweep Through South

By: From CNN, Posted by Ralph Hipp
By: From CNN, Posted by Ralph Hipp

PINE BELT, Georgia (CNN) -- Severe weather -- including suspected tornadoes -- swept through the South on Wednesday, killing at least one person and injuring at least nine others, officials said.

The fatality occurred in Forsyth County, Georgia, when a tree fell on a car, the fire department said.

In the Rock Hill section of York County, South Carolina, a possible tornado struck several homes, leaving twisted mounds of wreckage and resulting in five people being taken to area hospitals, said Gary Loflin, the county's public safety communications director.

"Others are still being assessed on the scene," he said. "We did have reports that people were trapped in their homes from the damage." Crews were searching the area for missing people, he said.

Four people were injured in Mississippi, but their injuries were not critical, according to National Weather Service reports.

A possible tornado caused "major damage" to a mobile home park near Opelika, Alabama, with homes and vehicles demolished, the weather service said, citing an emergency manager in Lee County. It was not immediately known if anyone was injured.

Downed trees, damaged homes and buildings, and power outages were reported across north, central and west Alabama and Georgia, including in metro Atlanta, from high winds and possible twisters.
Georgia Power said it had 1,975 customers without power -- 594 in metro Atlanta, 1,375 in the Manchester area, and scattered outages elsewhere.

A high school in Harris County, Georgia, was also reported damaged.

Eastern Alabama's Lee County received "significant reports of damage," said Rita Smith, a public information officer with Lee County Emergency Management. "We've got reports of damage at an apartment complex, structures at a lake, mobile homes and trees down," she said.

In Auburn, Alabama, Jim Goldberg told CNN, he and his wife were working at home when warning sirens went off, rain came down so hard it was difficult to see and wind pushed their patio furniture into a neighbor's yard.

"We got into our pantry as quickly as possible at that point," he said. "You could tell something bad was happening out there."

At least half a dozen trees fell on his property and a nearby home's roof was damaged, he said.

In the west Alabama city of Demopolis, damage was reported to roofs downtown, and a boat was overturned at a dealership, the National Weather Service reported. In the capital city of Montgomery, trees were reported down in a neighborhood from a possible tornado.

Earlier in the day, a suspected tornado in Louisiana's Tangipahoa Parish moved a home with four people inside off its foundation, but no one was hurt, according to the National Weather Service. A possible tornado also touched down near Kentwood, Louisiana, according to parish emergency management authorities.

In Terrebonne Parish, near Houma, damage was reported from a suspected tornado at the Houma-Terrebonne Airport, the National Weather Service said. Shingles were blown off a home, and a shed was blown out of a residential yard and onto the grounds of a nearby school. Windows at the school were blown out, the weather service said. A survey of damage is planned for Wednesday.

Sharon Henry, principal of Village East Middle School, said five windows at the school were blown out and debris littered the school yard. No one was injured, she said, as the school day had not begun. The windows were being repaired and school was in session Wednesday, she said.

Homes were also reported damaged near Jones, Mississippi, about 30 miles northeast of Hattiesburg, the National Weather Service said. In the town of Laurel, Mississippi, three homes were reported damaged with people trapped inside, according to the weather service. Four people with noncritical injuries were taken to a hospital. Power outages were reported in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, the weather service said.

The storms were associated with a cold front moving Wednesday across the Southeast. The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for Alabama and portions of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee until 7 p.m. ET. A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms and the development of tornadoes.

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