Death toll from US storms surges to 18, tornado warnings still in place (PHOTOS)
At least 18 people have been killed and scores more injured after severe storms lashed the southern US states.
Fourteen people were killed in Georgia, and four people died in Mississippi as a result of the adverse weather.
The deaths occurred as a direct result of severe weather according to State Emergency Management officials.
Georgia's Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency Sunday morning for seven counties in the state.
"These storms have devastated communities and homes in SouthCentral Georgia, and the state is making all resources available to the impacted areas," Deal said in a statement.
Southeastern parts of Georgia remain on high alert as severe weather warnings have been issued by the National Weather Service for the region along with neighbouring northern Florida.
Catherine Howden of the Georgia Emergency Management Agency confirmed Sunday morning that the casualties took place in Cook, Brooks and Berrien counties, near the Georgia-Florida border.
Howden said the deaths were related to severe weather but did not specify whether tornadoes were the specific cause. A tornado warning had been issued for parts of the state over night, with severe weather warnings remaining in place Sunday.
Brooks County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that two people were killed early Sunday by a possible tornado, according to News4Jax.
Meanwhile the Emergency Manager in Cook County confirmed that seven people were killed in the county, reported First Coast News.
Our area has been upgrade to a High Risk for severe wx today. CEMA will keep you posted on all watches/warnings! pic.twitter.com/a0vP7kRPNQ— Chatham EMA (@ChathamEMA) January 22, 2017
The National Weather Service have forecast an outbreak of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms over parts of north Florida and south Georgia Sunday and have asked people to review safety procedures for their area.
It also expects the threat to extend southward into central Florida and northeastward into South Carolina this evening.
Four people were killed Saturday after a tornado ripped through the town of Hattiesburg in southern Mississippi leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
A wide shot of all the homes damaged looking towards Edwards Street in downtown Hattiesburg. pic.twitter.com/elmJ2hA10c— Ryan Moore (@RyanMooreMS) January 21, 2017
City's Mass Transit Bldg Tornado Damage pic.twitter.com/VeLAKh1f1h— City of Hattiesburg (@Hattiesburg_MS) January 21, 2017
A long night last night and an even longer day today. Felt the emotional toll early today while rescuing victims and locating the deceased. You see stuff like this on tv and get a mere fraction of the level of destruction and devastation. Today in #Hattiesburg we lived it. My wife and mother and I were taking shelter in the bathroom at 4am this morning with the tornado missing us by a half of a mile.. I have to leave my family at home to come do my sworn duty at 5:30am and have been non stop all day. Coordinating our efforts with Fire Departments from all over the state, MEMA, United Way, Salvation Army, Ambulances, Police, Sheriffs, Task Force etc etc the list goes on and on, not to mention the outpouring of support in terms of food and drink and snacks and so on. A task of MONUMENTAL proportions. I love this job, I love helping people and at the end of the day I sit around our fire station dinner table with 10 other men from my department, some of my best friends, and I know in my heart they feel the same way I do. #ingoodcompany #iammybrotherskeeper #hattiesburgtornado
President Trump expressed his condolences to those affected by the severe storms and pledged federal assistance for Georgia, Florida and Alabama during a White House ceremony, Sunday.
He said he had spoken with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and planned to speak to Florida Governor Rick Scott about the storms.
"The tornadoes were vicious and powerful and strong and they suffered greatly," he said. "So we'll be helping out."