Alabama's state emergency management agency said Thursday that it had confirmed 128 deaths from severe and deadly storms which have included tornados and ravaged Southern states in recent days.
The Alabama figure rose sharply from 61 earlier today. More than 32 people have died in Mississippi, 6 in Tennessee, 11 in Georgia and one in Virginia, the Associated Press reported.
One tornado in Alabama hit the college town of Tuscaloosa on Wednesday, killing 15 people, Reuters reported.
Our thoughts are with the families and communities in Alabama and Georgia that have been affected by the severe storms and tornados that have ripped through the region this evening and continue to impact the southern states, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said in a statement.
Wednesday evening, President Barack Obama signed an emergency declaration for Alabama, which provides federal support to state and local response efforts.
Federal officials will coordinate with states with the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused byt the emergency on the local population.
The Tennessee Valley Authority - which serves 155 local power companies - said Wednesday that the weather had caused serious damage to the utility's transmission system in Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi, reporting that 78 large transmission lines remain out of service as of 6 a.m. EDT., although 12 have been restored.
Rob manning, TVA executive vice president of Power System Operations urged people never to approach power lines or transmission structures that are lying on the ground.
An energized power line on the ground causes electricity to fan out and anyone walking or running nearby could be electrocuted, he said, asking people to report downed power lines.