Severe storms cause deaths, injuries in U.S. South

By @ibtimes on

Severe storms and suspected tornadoes hit the U.S. South on Wednesday, causing several deaths in at least three states along with injuries, power outages and building damage, officials said.

In suburban Atlanta, a man died on 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.

In North Carolina, Governor Bev Perdue said in a statement, 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 added.

Derrec Becker, spokesman for the South Carolina Emergency Management Division, confirmed that storms in that state downed trees, damaged homes and caused injuries and some fatalities, although he could not say how many people had died.

The Charlotte Observer said three people were killed late on Wednesday as a powerful storm moved across York County, South Carolina.

At least 15 people were injured in southern Mississippi on Wednesday morning as storms passed through Jones County, said Don McKinnon, the county's emergency management director.

About three dozen homes and several businesses were damaged by strong winds stemming from suspected tornadoes, McKinnon said.

A series of deadly tornadoes battered the Southeast in April, killing an estimated 364 people in states including Alabama and Mississippi.

Possible tornadoes also struck in two southeast Louisiana locations early on Wednesday, said Freddie Zeigler, a forecaster with the National Weather Service.

Southwestern Alabama experienced widespread rain showers and thunderstorms, said National Weather Service meteorologist Aaron Gleason in Birmingham.

Nearly 23,000 Alabama Power Company customers in Montgomery, the state capital, and Auburn, home of Auburn University, were without power on Wednesday afternoon, said company spokesman Freddy Padilla.

(Additional reporting by Kathy Finn in New Orleans, Peggy Gargis in Birmingham, Ala, Kelli Dugan in Mobile, Ala, and David Beasley in Atlanta; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Greg McCune and Peter Cooney)

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