By Colleen Jenkins
WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina |
WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina (Reuters) – Severe storms and suspected tornadoes across the South have resulted in structural damage, power outages, injuries and at least six deaths in three states, officials said on Thursday.
Officials confirmed deaths in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia from the extreme weather that swept across the region on Wednesday.
Two people died in central North Carolina according to preliminary reports, state Emergency Management Division spokeswoman Julia Jarema said on Thursday. She did not have further details.
Governor Bev Perdue said in a statement that: “We have reports that tornadoes touched down in Randolph and Davidson counties this evening, causing a fatality in Davidson.”
“Based on currently available information, we know that more than a dozen structures were damaged in Randolph County, along with an undetermined amount of damage to buildings in Davidson County,” she said.
Severe weather, including a possible tornado, was being blamed for three deaths in York County, South Carolina, according to authorities.
A York County Sheriff’s Office statement said the Wednesday evening storm also injured five people and damaged or destroyed about seven homes. Search and rescue efforts were ongoing.
In suburban Atlanta, a man died Wednesday afternoon when a large pine tree fell on top of the sport utility vehicle he was driving in heavy wind and rain, said Captain Tim House, spokesman for the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office.
“The driver was trapped and mortally wounded,” House said.
INJURIES AND HEAVY RAIN
At least 15 people were injured in southern Mississippi on Wednesday morning as storms passed through Jones County, just north of Laurel. Only one of those was transported to an area hospital for treatment, said Don McKinnon, the county’s emergency management director.
About three dozen homes and several businesses were affected by strong winds stemming from suspected tornadoes, McKinnon said. An area near the Shady Grove community suffered the brunt of the damage, with felled trees temporarily trapping some residents in their homes and winds knocking some mobile homes off their foundations.
McKinnon said five homes were destroyed.
A series of deadly tornadoes battered the Southeast in April, killing an estimated 364 people in states including Alabama and Mississippi.
Southwestern Alabama experienced widespread rain showers and thunderstorms and damage reports on Wednesday from a possible tornado, said National Weather Service meteorologist Aaron Gleason in Birmingham.
Gleason said the affected areas had seen downed trees and damaged homes. In the city of Demopolis, strong winds overturned a boat at a dealership and caused roof damage in town.
Thousands of Alabama Power Company customers in Montgomery, the state capital, and Auburn, home of Auburn University, lost power, said company spokesman Freddy Padilla.
Between 25 and 30 homes throughout Lee County and an apartment complex in Auburn were damaged, said Lee County EMA spokeswoman Rita Smith.
(Additional reporting by Peggy Gargis in Birmingham, Ala, Kelli Dugan in Mobile, Ala, David Beasley in Atlanta and Harriet McLeod in Charleston, S.C.; Editing by Jerry Norton)