Chattanooga, TN Mocsnews.com (AP) – A wave of severe storms and tornadoes swept through the south last night. The storms damaged hundreds of homes and killed at least 20 people as storms covered areas ranging from Louisiana to South Carolina.
The National Weather Service reported a tornado struck Chattanooga, TN and damaged over 150 homes and buildings. Over a dozen people were treated for injuries. Chattanooga officials have reported two deaths in Hamilton County, and there was also another death reported in Marion County, TN. Chattanooga officials have been active in updating the public on the damage and sharing their condolences for the tragic deaths.
In Murray Georgia, tornadoes caused a five-mile path of destruction and destroyed two mobile home parks in the process. Murray County Fire Chief Dewayne Bain told WAGA-TV that six people were killed and five people were injured. The station also reported another death in Cartersville after a tree had fallen into a house.
So far, eleven deaths have been reported in Mississippi, and six more dead in northwest Georgia. Rescue efforts in Arkansas, South Carolina, and North Carolina found three more bodies in the debris.
In Mississippi, the deaths included Lawrence County sheriff’s deputy Robert Ainsworth and Walthall County Justice Court deputy clerk Paula Reid Ainsworth. The Lawrence County sheriff’s department shared their condolences via social media. “Robert left this world a hero, as he shielded Mrs. Paula during the tornado,” they said in a Facebook message.
In Arkansas, the Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management reported a death in White Hall, located southeast of Little Rock. A person had been killed after a tree fell on their home. The Oconee County Emergency Management Director Scott Krein said that one person was found dead in a collapsed building near Seneca. And another was killed by a falling tree in North Carolina, according to Sheriff’s Capt. Mike Burns.
Tornadoes damaged dozens of homes from Seneca to Clemson. Emergency officials in North Carolina are now in the process of opening up shelters for those in the mountains.
In Alabama, the tornadoes caused Gov. Kay Ivey to suspend the social distancing rules, allowing people to seek safety at local storm shelters.
The National Weather Service reported hundreds of downed trees across several states, many of which fell through roofs or bought down power lines. Storms raging through the night caused flooding and landslides in mountainous areas. According to poweroutages.us, 1.3 million people from Texas to Maine lost power due to the storms.
Hampton County Sheriff T.C. Smalls reacted to the damage from last night, “It’s all up in the air. Power lines are down, trees are all over the place. It’s hard to get from one place to the other because all the roads are blocked.”