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. Joe Luczkowski

    Folks impacted by the Southern Storms can register on the American Red Cross web site at http://www.safeandwell.org and relatives can check the site to see who has registered. One way to exchange information on loved ones

    April 28, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Boss

    Birth certificates somehow don't seem so important right now...My thoughts are with those affected by the storms.

    April 28, 2011 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bobbie in denver

    My heart goes out to the people affected by this. But doesn't anyone else see the hypocoisy (sic) in all the conservative govs immediately asking for "federal aid" after all the screaming fights to cut federal funding for any kind of aid? We will be glad to help you, but shut up the hate speech about the liberal spending.

    April 28, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Paul - Dalton, Ga

    I lived here in N. Ga for over 25 yrs and last night was the first time ever my family and I actually went under the house to the safety of the crawl space.
    I work in downtown Chattanooga and after the first wave went through and did so much damage I knew we were in for it all day long. Several buildings downtown Chatt. had their windows blown out, several trees knocked down and I mean 200 year old trees that were huge!
    Anyway I saw the devastation this moring in Ringgold, Ga on my way to work, I honestly don't know how anyone at all survived. The damage was the worst I've ever seen in my life! May god bless everyone here in the south that had losses and to those that survived the storms yesterday thank your lucky stars!

    April 28, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Furious in Kansas

    First and foremost, prayers and thoughts go out to all who have been affected by this tragedy. I live in Tornado Alley and have personally lived through events like this. The reason I am furious is that the all cable news stations showed nothing during the storms on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday with the exception of a rare pop-in. The Royal Wedding and the non-story about Obama's birth certificate were much more pressing. But now Anderson Cooper has death and destruction to report on – after the fact – the only thing he is truly capable of covering. CNN usually fails during these storms. After the 1999 Moore, Okla., tornado, a CNN studio anchor kept referring to the storm that night as a hurricane. Here is some real news CNN, MSNBC and the completely worthless Fox News Channel, there are people outside of New York and Washington, D.C. in this country.

    April 28, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tennessee

    We are finding things in Tennessee that belong to people in Alabama. This is awful. My prayers are w/ the dead & their families.

    April 28, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Name*jackson

    storm hit eclectic alabama hard leaving atleast eight missing

    April 28, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Andrea

    Marilyn – where are they located? I'm right outside Chattanooga and may be able to help.. I've had contact with people in NW Georgia (even in Ringgold where it was hit the worst.)

    April 28, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Name*jackson

    people wake up cant you see these are warning signs from god the end is here

    April 28, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  10. JAS

    This is a terrible tragedy. Where is Obama? Is he still fund raising? The good people of Alabama don't even get a fly over from Barry probably because the state is going to vote Republican in 2012.

    April 28, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Paul - Dalton, Ga

    Ohh please Jackson.. you could say the same for the GOP and what they're trying to do to America as the end is coming?
    It's hardly the end because there have always been tornado's, hurricanes & typhoon's since then beginning of time.!!!

    April 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. banasy

    My thoughts and prayers to all.

    April 28, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. banasy

    Now HOW in the HELL are you going to blame the weather on Obama? Grow up, already!!!! W*T*F!!!

    April 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. KEN DURBAN SOUTH AFRICA

    Hi there. Firstly to the all the families who have lost their homes and loved ones my thoughts are with you may god comfort each and every one of you. i have never seen a tornado personally only what i see on tv.Is there some body who can tell me how a tornado forms and why is it always the Southern states in USA that get hit.I have never heard of any other region in USA that has so many.Correct me if i am wrong but i beleave its like 100 tornado's a year .Once again my thoughts and prayers are with you.

    April 28, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Jaennae

    I live in Seattle, Washington. My father lives on Scott Lane, Madison Alabama. was that area affected? all power and phones down so I am unable to reach him. can someone please advise? thank you

    April 28, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
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