April 28th, 2011
12:38 PM ET

Live blog: Storms kill 184 in Alabama, 272 across South

[Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET] U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday called the loss of life from storms in the American Southeast "heartbreaking," and said that the "federal government will do everything we can to help (people affected by the deadly storms) recover."

We are "ready to help in any possible way," he said.

iReport: Share photos, video of the tornado aftermath

FULL STORY

[Updated at 3:14 p.m. ET] The death toll from severe weather in Alabama has reached 184, and the death toll in Tennessee has risen to 33, authorities said Thursday. The overall death toll is 272 people in six states.

[Updated at 12:38 p.m. ET] The death toll from severe weather in Alabama has reached 162, Alabama Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Yasamie August said Thursday. The overall death toll is as many as 247 people in six states.

[Updated at 12:33 p.m. ET] The death toll from severe weather in Georgia is at 14, Gov. Nathan Deal said Thursday. There are now as many as 234 people dead in six states.

[Updated at 11:53 a.m. ET] In the DeKalb County, Alabama town of Rainsville, 25 bodies were recovered near one parking lot in the center of town, said Israel Partridge, a local business owner who teaches search and rescue and volunteered to help the Rainsville Fire Department Wednesday night. Rainsville Police Chief Charles Centers confirmed the 25 dead, adding eight were in one trailer park. Many people are unaccounted for, Centers said.

Partridge said one tree that had been uprooted and tossed still had a dog alive, tied to it. Partridge said he freed the dog and gave it to a family to take care of.

[Updated at 10:20 a.m. ET] Thirty people have died in Tennessee as a result of severe weather, according to the Tennessee Emergency Operations Center. The death total from a wave of powerful storms that struck the South is now as many as 231 people in six states.

[Updated at 10:15 a.m. ET] The Tennessee Valley Authority reports that Wednesday's storms knocked out 90 large power transmission lines, only 13 of which were back in service by 10 a.m. Wednesday.

More than 322,000 customers of 49 TVA distributors were without power Wednesday morning, the TVA said in a press release.

That number could rise as crews conduct further assessments of damage, TVA said.

[Updated at 9:15 a.m. ET] Eight people have died in Virginia as a result of severe weather, the governor's office said Thursday, bringing the overall death toll from storms across the South to 202 people in six states.

Were you affected by the tornadoes? Share your images, stories with CNN iReport.

[Updated at 8:34 a.m. ET] The death toll from severe weather in the city of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is now at 36, Mayor Walter Maddox said Thursday, putting the overall death toll across the South at 194.

[Updated at 6:39 a.m. ET] Extreme weather across the southern United States has left at least 173 people dead, according to state officials.  The death toll in Mississippi climbed to 32 early Thursday.

[Updated at 6:01 a.m. ET] Extreme weather across the southern United States has left at least 159 people dead, according to state officials.  The death toll in Alabama climbed to 128  Thursday.

[Updated at 5:45 a.m. ET] Extreme weather left at least 123 people dead in Alabama, emergency management officials said Thursday.

[Updated at 4:42 a.m. ET] The death toll in Georgia now stands at 11, after the Spalding County Sherriff's Department confirmed two fatalities in that county.

Governor Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency in four hard-hit Georgia counties - Catoosa, Floyd, Dade and Walker.

[Updated at 4:20 a.m. ET]   The death toll from a series of violent storms that swept across the South rose to 76 early Thursday after Mississippi officials confirmed the storm-related deaths of 18 people in that state.

Among the fatalities was a 3-year-old girl in McComb, Mississippi, who died in her bed from a falling tree.

[Updated at 3:49 a.m. ET]   Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency in four storm-ravaged counties - Catoosa, Floyd, Dade and Walker.

[Updated at 3:40 a.m. ET]  Greg Flynn with the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency tells CNN the death toll in the state has risen to 18 from Wednesday's powerful storms.

Flynn says they have reports of damage in 50 counties, impacting at least 230 homes and 20 businesses.

[Updated at 2:04 a.m. ET]   Severe storms pummeled Alabama and cut a path of destruction across several other southern states Wednesday, killing  at least 67 people across the region, leveling buildings and trapping residents in their homes.

The storms killed nine people in Georgia, seven in Catoosa County and two in Dade County, according to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

The town of Ringgold, Georgia, was hit particularly hard. One tornado appeared to remain on the ground for at least a mile, said Gary Sisk with the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department, adding that some buildings were demolished.

Arkansas and Tennessee reported that at least one person died in each of those states.

[Updated at 1:57 a.m. ET]   Severe storms pummeled Alabama and cut a path of destruction across several other southern states Wednesday, killing  at least 66 people across the region, leveling buildings and trapping residents in their homes.

Alabama appeared to be the hardest hit Wednesday night, with at least 45 people killed in severe storms and tornadoes, said Lauree Ashcom, a spokeswoman for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.

[Updated at 1:40 a.m. ET]  A total of seven fatalities have been confirmed in Catoosa County, Georgia, after severe storms moved through late Wednesday, according to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

The deaths bring the statewide total to eight.  One person also died in Trenton.

At least three of the fatalities were in the town of Ringgold, which was hit particularly hard. One tornado appeared to remain on the ground for at least a mile, said Gary Sisk with the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department, adding that some buildings were completely demolished.

[Updated at 1:10 a.m. ET]   Severe storms pummeled Alabama and cut a path of destruction across several other southern states Wednesday, killing  at least 62 people across the region, leveling buildings and trapping residents in their homes.

Alabama appeared to be the hardest hit Wednesday night, with at least 45 people killed in severe storms and tornadoes, said Lauree Ashcom, a spokeswoman for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.

The National Guard dispatched hundreds of personnel to some of the state's hardest hit areas.

"This has been a very serious and deadly event that's affected our state, and it's not over yet," Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley told reporters Wednesday evening.

President Barack Obama announced late Wednesday he had approved Bentley's request for emergency federal assistance,  including search and rescue support.

"While we may not know the extent of the damage for days, we will continue to monitor these severe storms across the country and stand ready to continue to help the people of Alabama and all citizens affected by these storms," Obama said in a statement.

"Michelle and I extend our deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives because of the tornadoes that have swept through Alabama and the southeastern United States."

[Updated at 12:43 a.m. ET]Severe storms cut a path of destruction across several other southern states Wednesday, killing at least 62 people, and leaving buildings leveled and residents trapped in their homes.

Authorities said at least 62 people died in storms across the region.

Alabama appeared to be the hardest hit Wednesday night, with at least 45 people killed in severe storms and tornadoes, said Lauree Ashcom, a spokeswoman for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.

[Updated at 11:41 p.m. ET] Three deaths have been confirmed in Ringgold, Georgia, after severe storms moved through late Wednesday, bringing the five-state death toll from Tuesday night's and Wednesday's storms in the South to 42, according to authorities.

In Ringgold, eight people were taken to a hospital, according to Gary Sisk with the Catoosa County Sheriff's Department. There was no word on the severity of the injuries, he said.

The town in northwest Georgia was hit particularly hard. One tornado appeared to remain on the ground for at least a mile, said Sisk, adding that some buildings were completely demolished.

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Filed under: Alabama • Georgia • Tennessee • Tornadoes • U.S. • Weather
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Ben

    My sister lives in Toney, AL, just outside Huntsville. I read that it was one of the hardest-hit places in Alabama. I pray that she is okay... we have not heard anything from her.

    April 28, 2011 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
    • mary rainey

      You can check on red cross.org for lists. People are urged to put names of relatives on there. Good luck. My sisters sister in law lives in Sulphur AL. We have not heard from her either.
      I pray for everyone there. I hope you hear from her soon.

      April 28, 2011 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Debi

      Ben, I live in Alabama in an area that thankfully wasn't affected by the storms but I do know that most of the northern half of Alabama is totally without power and without phone – land or cell – service. It may be days before the power is restored. Gulf Power from Florida is sending workers to assist Alabama Power and TVA with getting transmission lines back up. With so many trees down it will take a while to have communications restored. It was a devastating experience. We went through similar experience in our town four years ago...tornado hit our high school, killing 8 students. Cars and houses can be replaced but human lives can't. Lots of prayer is in order and contributions to help the victims.

      April 28, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • amy

      my best friend's dad lives in toney as well. haven't heard from them either:( just praying.

      April 28, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jazzzzzzzz

    Ben She'll be ok

    April 28, 2011 at 2:00 am | Report abuse |
  3. mary rainey

    People are dying all over the south from these tornados and all you people seem to care about is the stupid Royal Wedding. Who the heck cares. Complete towns are being crushed....people are missing. People are DEAD !!!!!! Try ...TRY to show some compassion...other than just reporting about how many died. I will NEVER watch your channel again.> I have never
    seen Anderson Cooper be so un compassionate.
    sincerely
    mary rainey

    April 28, 2011 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
    • asterisk50

      I live in arizona and I am worried to and I will pray for all of the people my hearts are thinking about then. I listen to the weather station and see what is going on. I wish all of you to be safe you will all be in my hearts.

      April 28, 2011 at 3:11 am | Report abuse |
    • saxon

      they have to fake the lamest brit wedding yet, to stave off the masses they just ripped off twice over: once when they annhilated the students and the workers; and twice when they immediately came up with a tab to marry off their media/political pawn to a commoner... to appease the peasants. and they're hoping americans will go for it since the british want to chop their german heads off. meanwhile... we're dying out here and the media is sucking up to our old tyrant. mary is right but it just stands to reason: don't expect patriotism coming from the corporate propaganda mouthpieces... they have vested interests in manipulating the peasants.

      April 28, 2011 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  4. mary rainey

    I don't want to sound flip...but remember,,,electricity has been out all over the place.

    April 28, 2011 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
  5. valerie

    what parts of GA is getting hit? Dublin? Macon?

    April 28, 2011 at 2:46 am | Report abuse |
  6. valerie

    Milledgeville, GA?

    April 28, 2011 at 2:50 am | Report abuse |
  7. asterisk50

    I will pray for all, we all need to come together and talk about what really matters people lives. And the childrent is has a effect on. We need to concentrate what is important our economy, the deadly storms, and stop talking about Mr. Trump that is not improtant we need as people we need to do what is right for our neighbors and our children and look out for one another. My heart goes our to all the brave people that survive the storms. When times are tough we need to ban together and not think of race or hated.

    April 28, 2011 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
  8. jennifer

    we are looking for our family Chris and Debra Wozniak. We know he was on the phone when the torando hit. The house is flat but we do not know if he got out. Please if anyone sees anything with his name. Contact us....jennmwhitman@yahoo.com

    April 28, 2011 at 3:32 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sean From Detroit

    I agree with asterisk. This is a time to put petty differences and distractions aside, to help each other.

    April 28, 2011 at 3:36 am | Report abuse |
  10. BIG MAMA CORNBREAD

    GOD IS FOR US ALL...AND THIS TO SHALL PASS.

    April 28, 2011 at 4:00 am | Report abuse |
  11. Cynthia

    I'm an Upper Mid-Western woman who follows weather patterns. Wow, i've never seen anything like this in my lifetime~ i bet this will beat records on the totality of tornados on the ground in one day. Are we experiencing something unique, scary. Plz people take storm warnings seriously & take cover.

    April 28, 2011 at 4:16 am | Report abuse |
  12. Steve

    I live in Dallas and from what they said on the news,,,everything was just right for ALL of these Tornadoes to spawn..they had a very HIGH predictor for ALL of this to happen.. My families prayers go out to ALL of the people that lost there lives to these SuperCell Storms that have totally devastated the southern and eastern parts of the country..

    April 28, 2011 at 4:51 am | Report abuse |
  13. mandy

    For those of you who have family and friends near huntsville they have no power and it could take 4-5 days for it to be restored! Alabama lost 128 people and that according to my husband was weather that was unusal he was born and raised in crossville well latham alabama and remained in al for 27 yrs! Feel free to email me mrs.gray092309@gmail.com with and questions I have a couple of news channels on my FB that are pretty good and giving info and updates! I can also give you a email add to send info of missing or unaccounted for!

    April 28, 2011 at 6:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. Joey

    I am terribly saddened. I send my most heartfelt sympathy to all who have lost loved ones.
    I empathize with the anxiety of those who don't know about their loved ones.
    For those who have lost their property, I grieve with you for that.
    I grew up in the South. I still feel that you are my people.
    "May God bless my people...remember them kindly in their time of trouble; and in the hour of their taking away."

    April 28, 2011 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
  15. Riff*Raff

    The storms were horribly intense. I am in Georgia,however we were one of the lucky ones. The temp had sufficiently dropped by the time the storms reached NE Ga to stop the tornadoes. We just had violent thunderstorms-trees down & power outages. The storms at night made them even more treacherous. My prayers to all of the families affected. My heart goes out to you. 35,000 in Ga without power at last update-possibly 4 days before fully restored. We're just seeing the extent of the damage with the sunrise.The footage from Tuscaloosa & Birmingham was dreadful. I hope everyone is able to get word from your friends & family. Cell service is intermittent at best. Good luck

    April 28, 2011 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
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