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. Terra

    If you can not call your loved ones because of a power outages. Try texting. For some reason we have been able to get through so some family that way!!! I hope it works for you.

    April 28, 2011 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  2. carla

    I laid in bed last night praying for those in the path of the storm, we had some affects here in western nc and tornado warnings. My prayers with all.

    April 28, 2011 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jill

    Please give your little news lady, I did not catch her whole name but I think it was Jackie or something, a blond lady. better information before putting her on the air. The Tuscaloosa tornado is not a small city that does not have internet access. Nor are they too poor to have the resources to watch the news. This is a MAJOR city in our state. The people did have enough sense to get into their basements. As someone said on your broadcast "this storm just seeked people out. There was no hiding"

    April 28, 2011 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  4. Andrea

    Someone mentioned this earlier, but here's the link on the Red Cross' website where you can find any folks who have been added to their "safe and secure" list. If you cannot find who you're looking for, then they do ask for contact info presumably so they may reach you if the person you're searching for is found.

    https://safeandwell.communityos.org/zf/safesearch/search

    I live in Texas, and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has suffered from these storms.

    April 28, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. Carrie

    My sister lives in Fayetteville, TN near the Alabama/Tennessee state line. She is saying they are rationing fuel where she lives. Is this true? I know it's near Hazel Green, AL....

    April 28, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  6. mdb01

    Once again our absent President is gone to do television commercial and raise money. We cannot afford to have "Nero" in the white house while we have so many problems. Were is the media??? if this was during Bush CNN would be screaming...

    April 28, 2011 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
  7. Tony Gillard

    This was the ghost of Gen.Sherman ya'll. All you rebs,watchout!! Better DUCK!!!!

    April 28, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  8. sally

    what specific streets/neighborhoods in Tuscaloosa were hit?

    April 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • diznbama

      15th Street, Mcfarland Blvd, Forest Lake are a few!

      April 28, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Phyllis

    Where can we send boxes of clothes to help people?

    April 28, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. jerry

    with these awful storms it is time to think about the republican ryan budget that proposes huge cuts to the weather service.

    April 28, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. IKHAN

    What heart rending devastation & tragic loss of life.
    Our hearts & prayers go out to the affected families. As always we Americans would surely come together to help.

    @ mdb01
    so now you folks realize that we have so many problems not just one – President Obama's birth. Hope this tragedy dispels the idiocy reigning among the 'Birthers' and the politicos can get down to real issues.

    April 28, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Elaine Brown

    Unfortunetly I have a very heavy heart when I see this type of destruction, you see I went thru Katrina. Yes, I lost and when I say lost I mean when I came back to my home it was gone, wiped off it's foundation and GONE. We never found so much as one article that was in the home. When the news media, politicians and population of the country replied that we should never rebuild because this area was destined to have it happen again we turned a deaf ear and pulled up our sinking hearts and built again, stronger and safer. So to those that are now going thru the tornado destruction I say it is like nothing you have ever had to recover from before but you will and I will.

    April 28, 2011 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. matrix2004

    Enough is Enough! Scientists need to create a way to kill tornados when they form. I'm thinking some kind of high energy multi-spread lazer that would disrupt the 'just right' conditions so the tornados dissipates.

    April 28, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Amanda

    What I really want to know is WHY didn't the weather sirens alarm in Griffin last night when the tornado hit?? We have several all over the city and NO ONE heard anything! Was this deliberate? Or is Griffin just slacking on their duties here to protect the people??

    April 28, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Name*tiffany washington

    Looking for my aunte geraldine marcus she cant read or right please contact me 727 623 3573 im in fl in headed to tuscaloosa al

    April 28, 2011 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • diznbama

      I have passed your information on to a local radio station here,...who are helping people with different situations. Maybe they can help. Also, you may want to try going to the red cross website and there is a list there for people to post names of missing relatives.

      April 28, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
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