218 people are reported dead, including 128 killed in Alabama and 11 dead in Georgia, as massive tornados ripped through the south yesterday.
Jabriel Branch, (pictured right) of McComb, Mississippi, died when a tree crashed through the roof of her family home last night.
Rescue workers are still searching through rubble for survivors in the northwest corner of Georgia, which was the hardest hit. 7 people were reported killed in Catoosa County in north GA. Two people are reported dead in Spalding County, south of Atlanta.
So far GEMA is reporting only 11 people dead in Georgia. GEMA spokesman Chrystal Paulk-Buchanan said the death toll is expected to climb throughout the day. 30 injured people have been taken to area hospitals.
Severe thunderstorms moved through the area south of Atlanta last night knocking down trees and power lines and leaving about 1,500 Georgia Power customers in the dark. Luckily, the storms spared metro Atlanta.
“There’s really no explanation,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Alex Gibbs of why the storms skipped Atlanta. “It’s just the way the storms set up.”
Sgt. Joe Peavy of Spalding County and his 11-year-old daughter are counting their blessings this morning. They were taken to an area hospital after a tornado struck their home just off of highway 92.
“The last I heard they were doing OK, but his house is gone, his patrol car is crushed,” Spalding Sheriff’s Capt. Tony Ranieri told the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “All we know is that when the tornado hit, it apparently sucked the 11-year-old girl out the bedroom window along with her bed and everything else. It was very fortunate [that she survived]. I wish everybody would have come out that way because we did have two fatalities.”
Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency covering Floyd, Dade, Catoosa and Walker counties in north Georgia. The list is expected to grow as storms continue to push through the south today.
A tornado watch and flash flood watches are still in effect for the D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas until 3pm today.
Watch this video as a massive tornado ripped through Alabama yesterday.
Source: AJC and CBS/AP