A wide swath of the Southeast was reeling Monday after a two-day weather rampage of tornadoes and violent storms that killed 20 people, injured dozens more and destroyed homes, businesses and communities.
Elsewhere Monday, separate storms were slamming California and the Northeast with driving rain and howling winds. Flood watches and warnings were in effect in and around Los Angeles and San Diego while high wind watches and warnings were posted in New England.
Sixteen of the deaths from the weekend severe weather outbreak took place in Sunday in Georgia. That made Sunday the USA’s deadliest January day for tornadoes since Jan. 22, 1969, when 32 people died, according to the Storm Prediction Center.
January 2017 is now also the second-deadliest January on record, following Jan. 1969.
Catherine Howden, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, said late Sunday that the three latest deaths were confirmed in Dougherty County, but the Associated Press said early Monday a fourth victim had been found.
Local officials said search and rescue operations were continuing after a reported tornado caused widespread destruction in the county.
President Trump pledged to aid Georgia’s recovery.
“I just spoke with Gov. Nathan Deal,” Trump said during a White House ceremony. “Georgia is a great state, great people … The tornadoes were vicious and powerful and strong and they suffered greatly. So we’ll be helping out the state of Georgia.”
Trump also expressed condolences for victims of storm damage in surrounding states.
Four people died Saturday in southern Mississippi when a tornado left a trail of devastation in and around Hattiesburg. On Sunday, damaging storms were reported from South Carolina to northern Florida, but so far all the reported deaths were in Georgia.
Seven people were killed in a mobile home park in Cook County, and two people were killed in Brooks and Berrien counties, Howden said. She said at least 23 people were injured. The numbers could rise.
Karen Moore survived when an apparent tornado destroyed a swath of the Sunshine Acres Mobile Home Park in the Cook County seat of Adel. She said the storm woke her up before dawn Sunday.
“It sounded like a freight train coming through, and I told my husband that is no train, that is a tornado.” Moore said. “There was rubble everywhere. … It took out five trailers, double-wides, I mean, it just turned them.”
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SOURCE: USA Today, John Bacon and Doyle Rice