Severe weather has swept across the South, killing at least 18 people and damaging hundreds of homes from Louisiana into the Appalachian Mountains. Many people spent part of the night early Monday sheltering in basements, closets and bathroom tubs as sirens wailed to warn of possible tornadoes.
The Chattanooga, Tennessee area and several counties in northwest Georgia appeared to be particularly hard-hit. At least 14 people were hospitalized in the Chattanooga area, where search and rescue teams from at least 10 fire departments were going door to door responding to more than 300 emergency calls for help, the fire department said.
Just over the state line in Georgia, Murray County Fire Chief Dewayne Bain told WAGA-TV that two mobile home parks were severely damaged, with five people were killed and five others hospitalized after a line of narrow line of storms left a five mile long path of destruction. Another person was killed when a tree fell on a home in Cartersville, Georgia, the station reported.
Mississippi’s death toll rose to 11 early Monday, the state’s emergency management agency tweeted, promising details later in the morning.
In Arkansas, one person was killed when a tree fell on a home in White Hall, about 35 miles southeast of Little Rock, the Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management said. Powerful winds from Sunday’s storms knocked out electricity to more than 125,000 homes and businesses in the state, and Entergy Arkansas said it could take several days to restore power.
Strong winds late Sunday toppled power lines and blew trees onto several houses in Clarksdale, Mississippi, trapping some people inside, Mayor Chuck Espy said.
“I know these are some tough times and I’m just asking everyone to stay prayed up,” Espy said.
There were no immediate reports of serious injuries in Louisiana, even though the storm damaged between 200 and 300 homes in and around the city of Monroe, Mayor Jamie Mayo, told KNOE-TV. Flights were cancelled at Monroe Regional Airport, where airport director Ron Phillips told the News-Star the storm caused up to $30 million in damage to planes inside a hangar.
In Alabama, lightning struck the Shoals Creek Baptist Church in Priceville, damaging the roof and steeple, Morgan County Emergency Management Agency Eddie Hicks told AL.com.
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