At least 4 dead as what remains of Lee storm moves north
The remnants of Tropical Storm Lee brought down trees and damaged homes in Woodstock, Georgia, on Monday.
September 6th, 2011
05:56 PM ET

At least 4 dead as what remains of Lee storm moves north

[5:47 p.m. ET] Former Tropical Storm Lee left at least four people dead as it crossed Southern states.

In Gwinnett County, Georgia, just outside Atlanta, firefighters said Tuesday they found the body of a man who drowned in a rain-swollen creek near Norcross. He was one of two men who were trying to walk across the creek Monday "when a sudden gush of rushing water swept them over into the middle of the creek," the Gwinnett Fire Department said.

The creek was estimated to be 8 to 10 feet deep near the spillway where the two were swept away. The first man held onto the second but eventually lost his grip. He was washed downstream as well but managed to escape the water.

In Baldwin County, Alabama, police said they no longer believe a missing 16-year-old boy is alive. The teen was last seen on a beach near Gulf Shores on Sunday, said sheriff's spokesman Maj. Anthony Lowery. Lowery said Tuesday hopes of him coming to shore have faded.

A flooding death was also reported in rural northeast Mississippi, where one person drowned after floodwaters swept away a vehicle in Tishomingo County, emergency officials said.

In addition, a woman died in Chattanooga, Tennessee, early Tuesday. A woman went outside about 12:30 a.m. to move her vehicle and was struck by a tree, said police Sgt. Jerri Weary. About 30,000 people in the area were without power as of Tuesday morning, Weary said, and several roads were closed because of flooding.

As of 5 p.m. ET, the center of what remained of former Tropical Storm Lee was located about 115 miles northwest of Atlanta and was nearly stationary, the National Weather Service's Hydrometeorological Prediction Center said Tuesday.

Winds of up to 30 mph may accompany the rain.

FULL POST

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Update: Thriving at home after 13 years on death row with multiple sclerosis
Paul House lived with multiple sclerosis for 13 of 22 years on Tennessee's death row before DNA evidence freed him.
August 16th, 2011
03:52 PM ET

Update: Thriving at home after 13 years on death row with multiple sclerosis

Paul House left Tennessee's death row nearly four years ago a crippled man. Sure, he was free, but after 13 years of living with multiple sclerosis in prison, he was a gaunt shell of a man, unable to walk or barely talk, scared to go out in public for fear of being harassed.

Now, he’s a different person, says his mother, Joyce House. He has new teeth, and an affinity for Arby’s beef-and-cheddar sandwiches has helped him gain weight. Thanks to treatment and medication, he can communicate with others and play online poker. When it’s not too hot outside, he exercises on parallel bars in his mother's backyard so that one day, he can hopefully transition from a wheelchair to a walker.

Most importantly, he has overcome a fear of public scrutiny that had haunted him since his release in 2008, after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that new DNA evidence could have led a jury to acquit him in the 1985 murder of Carolyn Muncey. House spent 22 years on death row before his release.

"When he first came home, he didn't want to go anywhere. He was so afraid people were going to come up to him and say, 'oh you're a murderer,' " his mother said. "I told him people know you're innocent, I know you're innocent, you know you're innocent. He’d say, 'yeah, but does everyone else know?' "

House was placed under house arrest in 2008 while he awaited retrial. In 2009, a month before his trial, Union County District Attorney Paul Phillips filed a petition to drop all charges, saying DNA evidence presented significant reasonable doubt.

"Took 'em long enough," House said at the time.

His lawyer said he has filed a petition for executive clemency, which would provide for financial compensation. "He’ll never be able to walk, but he still strives to one day reach the walker,” Joyce House said.

"He says, 'whenever I get to where I can walk with the walker, we're going to see Mr. Kissinger,' the lawyer who set him free," she said.

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TVA report: Chemicals found at Tennessee plants could be a health hazard
Toxic substances at Tennessee Valley Authority plants may be leaking into water systems including the Cumberland River, The Tennessean newspaper reports.
July 26th, 2011
10:44 AM ET

TVA report: Chemicals found at Tennessee plants could be a health hazard

Groundwater contamination that could cause a health hazard has been detected at nine Tennessee Valley Authority fossil fuel power plant sites, according to a new report from the Inspector General of the TVA, a corporation that is owned by the United States government. TVA provides flood control, navigation and land management to the state's river system.

The levels of chemicals detected could possibly cause a health hazard, The Tennessean newspaper reports.

One of the power plants is located about 50 miles northwest of Nashville.

Among the chemicals found at plants: arsenic, nickel, selenium, beryllium and cadmium.

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Hikers climb five mountain summits in one day
Mission complete: Hike five mountains, in five states, in one day
July 12th, 2011
04:30 PM ET

Hikers climb five mountain summits in one day

Hikers from the Atlanta area completed a climb to the summit of the five highest peaks in five Southeastern states in one day.

The leader of the trip, Charlie Cottingham, said the group has applied to GuinnessWorldRecords.com to have the feat recorded as a hiking world record.

The 21 hikers are part of the Atlanta Outdoor Club. They climbed South Carolina's highest peak, Sassafras Mountain at 3,564 feet, Mount Mitchell in North Carolina at 6,684 feet, Clingmans Dome at 6,643 feet in Tennessee, Brasstown Bald in Georgia at 4,784 feet and Cheaha Mountain in Alabama at 2,413 feet.

"It was a perfect day because it was in the 70s in all five places," Cottingham said.

Cottingham said the idea for the trip dates back to 1992 when a group from the Atlanta Ski Club climbed four summits in four states. He was part of that trip and always believed it was possible to hike a fifth summit between sunrise and sunset on the same day.

The group used private vehicles on Sunday to travel between the mountains and "obeyed all traffic laws" during their journey. Cottingham said the five summits are near trailheads, which saved time.

"I'm proud of our achievement and it offers proof of what the spirit of friendly cooperation can do," Cottingham said.

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A fistful of fish for the Fourth
Kubat Otorbaev, a journalist from Kyrgyzstan, grabbed a catfish on his first try.
July 4th, 2011
11:14 PM ET

A fistful of fish for the Fourth

Editor's note: Douglas M. Jones of CNN International tagged along as a group of international journalists went "catfish noodling" in a Tennessee lake during the Fourth of July weekend. Here he describes how the outing went.

“Just stick your hand down in there further and see if he bites it," Marty told me.

With a determined look on my face I took a deep breath and sunk back under water, using my arm as fish bait.

Earlier that morning, before sunrise, a crew and I met a group of visiting international journalists at their hotel in Atlanta.  We giggled like kids at the idea of sticking our hands into the mouth of a fish and ripping it out from under the water. FULL POST

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Filed under: Animals • Fish • Kyrgyzstan • Tennessee
May 25th, 2011
08:27 PM ET

Tornado warning for Memphis canceled

[Updated at 9:23 p.m. ET] A storm responsible for a tornado warning for Memphis, Tennessee, has moved northeast of the downtown area and no longer poses a threat, according to the National Weather Service.

A tornado was spotted near midtown Memphis, Tennessee, at 7:03 p.m. CT, the weather service said. No reports of damage were immediately made.

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South gets a major buzz on every 13 years
The 13-year periodical cicada has big red bug-eyes to go with its orange legs and wing parts.
May 24th, 2011
12:01 PM ET

South gets a major buzz on every 13 years

The brood is back, and it's gonna be noisy.

Trees, posts, walls and other vertical surfaces throughout the American South are being covered this spring with billions of periodical cicadas: red-eyed insects that emerge, like Chicago Cubs fans' pennant hopes, for a few weeks just once every 13 years.

The bugs are perfectly harmless to humans, unless you count annoyance caused by the remarkable amount of noise the love-starved little critters make. The male cicada's mating call has been compared to a circular saw, only more shrill - and that's just the way the lady cicadas like it. FULL POST

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Monday's live video events
May 16th, 2011
07:32 AM ET

Monday's live video events

A space shuttle looks to head into orbit one last time.  Watch CNN.com Live for continuing coverage of space shuttle Endeavour.

Today's programming highlights...

8:30 am ET - Casey Anthony jury selection - Jury selection continues in the case of Casey Anthony, the Florida woman accused of killing her young daughter.

FULL POST


Filed under: Barack Obama • Basketball • Casey Anthony • College basketball • Crime • District of Columbia • Florida • On CNN.com today • Politics • Shuttle • Space • Sports • Tennessee • U.S. • Uncategorized
New rules to live by in Memphis' Northaven community
A man rakes debris Wednesday in a flooded mobile home park in the Memphis, Tennessee, suburb of Northaven.
May 11th, 2011
04:05 PM ET

New rules to live by in Memphis' Northaven community

The Memphis, Tennessee, suburb of Northhaven has been flooded extensively, and now the community has some unofficial new rules aimed at keeping people safe.

"If you're thinking of going swimming in the floodwaters, don't," Shelby County sheriff's spokesman Chip Washington said. "Some folks have been in the water, letting their kids play in the water. It's extremely dangerous. It's no joke. It really isn't."

Parts of Memphis have flooded thanks to a swollen Mississippi River. The river on Tuesday crested at Memphis more than 13 feet above flood stage, just short of a Memphis record set in 1937.

Washington said people should be mindful of debris, contaminated water, rodent infestation and snakes. Animals have been fleeing the river basin, and poisonous water moccasins and copperheads have been showing up in people's yards.


Click the audio player to hear the rest of the story from CNN Radio's John Sepulvado:


"We had a moccasin hang out in the back for about an hour," Northaven auto mechanic Eric Scott said. "In 15 years I've never seen anything like this. We had flash floods last year, but it's like a zoo out back (of the auto shop)."

FULL POST

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Floodwaters on the rise
May 11th, 2011
10:33 AM ET

Floodwaters pour toward 'last place on Earth that needs high water'

The swollen Mississippi River rolled south Wednesday, swamping emptied-out towns and businesses, and threatening untold damage to areas still recovering from a series of natural disasters.

In Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arkansas, authorities and residents braced for the days ahead.

"I went through (Hurricane) Katrina," said Lynn Magnuson, a New Orleans resident. "I would not wish flooding on anyone, and this city is the last place on Earth that needs any more high water."

The river crested Tuesday at Memphis, just short of a record set in 1937. The river in Memphis measured 47.8 feet Tuesday night, according to the National Weather Service. In Natchez, Mississippi, the river surpassed its record early Wednesday, exceeding 58 feet. Forecasts predict the river will crest in Natchez on May 21 at an overwhelming 64 feet.

Mississippi has already had to close some of its casinos at Tunica, a key economic driver in that part of the state, as flood waters seeped in. About 600 people in the Tunica community of Cutoff have been driven from their homes, said Larry Liddell, a county spokesman.

"We're just watching and waiting," he said.

In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal said as many as 3 million acres could be affected by the flooding. Some 500 National Guard members have been mobilized so far and 21 parishes have issued emergency declarations.

The river's crest is expected to begin arriving in Louisiana next week. Flooding is expected to be a major setback in the southern part of the state.

"After hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike - as well as the oil spill - Louisiana can ill-afford another large-scale disaster," said Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat. "Billions of dollars in property is at stake, not to mention the threat to human life."

CAJUN CONCERN | HI-RES PHOTOS | OPEN STORY: DAMAGE MAP

FULL STORY
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On the Radar: Louisiana flooding, Iran hikers, college shooting, Newt Gingrich
A bathtub in the yard of a home in Cairo, Illinois, on Wednesday, surrounded by Mississippi River water.
May 11th, 2011
07:52 AM ET

On the Radar: Louisiana flooding, Iran hikers, college shooting, Newt Gingrich

Louisiana flooding As many as three million acres in Louisiana could be flooded by the surging Mississippi River, according to Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is urging residents to take precautions immediately. Rising water could reach levels unseen since 1927, which has many people fearful. The region is still trying to recover from Hurricane Katrina. Flooding has already forced casinos in Tunica, Mississippi, to close. About 600 people in Tunica have had to leave their homes.

Iran hikers trial delay The trial of two American men whom Iran accuses of spying has once again been delayed. A Swiss diplomat tells CNN that Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were not brought from jail to the courthouse Wednesday, and that no reason was given. Switzerland represents U.S. interests in Iran. Sarah Shourd, a third U.S. citizen who was arrested on the border between Iraq and Iran in 2009 along with Fattal and Bauer and also accused of espionage, refused to attend Wednesday's hearing. Shourd, Bauer's fiancee, was released from an Iranian jail on bail last year and allowed to leave Iran on "humanitarian grounds."  Shourd said she would not return because she was suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder after spending 14 months in Tehran's notorious Evin prison.

California college shooting Three people have been killed in a shooting in a parking garage on the campus of San Jose State University. Police say it's unclear if the victims were students. The identities of the deceased have not been released pending autopsy results.

Newt Gingrich's presidential run?   The former Republican speaker of the House is expected to officially announce Wednesday that he's running for the White House in 2012. He's already been traveling to some of the early primary states like Iowa. At the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Gingrich took jabs at President Barack Obama.

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Flooding explained: crests, spillways and levees
Townhomes sit in floodwater from the Mississippi River on Monday in Memphis, Tennessee.
May 10th, 2011
09:43 PM ET

Flooding explained: crests, spillways and levees

The swollen Mississippi River on Tuesday was in the process of cresting many feet above flood stage in Memphis, Tennessee, and residents of states to the south are bracing for serious flooding in their communities.

A slow-moving wave of water has been working its way down the river since torrential rains sparked flooding in the Midwest's Ohio and Mississippi river valleys in late April. Hundreds of households were ordered to evacuate in the Memphis area (see pictures), where the river was expected to crest Tuesday around 48 feet - 14 feet above flood stage and less than a foot under the city's record level set in 1937.

The high water is headed for Mississippi and Louisiana, prompting authorities to open one spillway and consider opening another - moves meant to divert some of the water into less populated or unpopulated areas. Up to 5,000 homes will be evacuated in Mississippi, officials there say. In Louisiana, where the river is expected to crest next week, 21 parishes already have issued emergency declarations.

You will hear a lot about crests, spillways and levees over the next couple of weeks. Below you'll find what these mean and what the Army Corps of Engineers and others are doing to mitigate the flooding threat along the Mississippi.

FULL POST

Stories from flood: 'At my age, I just don’t know how much I can fix up'
Marilyn Nally, 73, has lived on her farm in Charleston, Missouri, for 41 years. It is now submerged in floodwaters.
May 10th, 2011
09:12 PM ET

Stories from flood: 'At my age, I just don’t know how much I can fix up'

As the slow-moving wall of floodwater makes its way down the Mississippi River, residents in areas that have already been affected by the deluge are beginning to take stock of the damage.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers opened a spillway Monday north of New Orleans in an effort to stem flooding from the rising Mississippi River, which has already affected thousands of people in eight Midwestern and Southern states.

See iReport "Open Story" map of people affected by the floods

The procedure is not a cure-all. Last week, the Corps intentionally breached a levee in Missouri to reduce pressure on other levees, flooding 130,000 acres of agricultural land, over the objection of state officials and some farmers. People in those areas are still struggling in the aftermath of the breach.

They levy was blown up to save the small town of Cairo, Illinois, from rising floodwaters. Now, farm families in nearby Charleston, Missouri, are awash in misery.

Marilyn Nally, a 73-year-old widow, looked at her flooded farmhouse a quarter mile in the distance.

"I’m very sad. At my age, I just don’t know how much I can fix up,” she said.

Many Charleston residents felt that the Corps should have waited longer before blowing the levy that flooded their fields. Farmers Roy and Ray Dennison looked out across the muddy water and could not see the tops of their wheat crop. The brothers estimate they lost $350,000 in the wheat crop alone.

Vickie Caldwell, hair white with experience and heartache, ignored an evacuation order and stayed in Cairo, which is between the Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Caldwell was born and raised in the town and raised a daughter and a son here.

Some people joked that Cairo, with a decayed downtown and fewer than 2,500 residents, was not worth saving. Caldwell bristled at such comments.

“I hear it a lot. It makes me feel sad you know. They don’t live here; they don’t know the people here. We’ve got good people here."

FULL POST

On the Radar: GM jobs, Obama on immigration, Memphis flooding
GM may add up to 2,000 jobs to produce the Chevy Volt.
May 10th, 2011
08:28 AM ET

On the Radar: GM jobs, Obama on immigration, Memphis flooding

GM jobs: General Motors will announce Tuesday a plan to add or preserve 4,200 jobs, the Detroit Free Press reports, citing "people familiar with the planning."

Up to 2,000 of the jobs will be in the metro Detroit area, the paper reported, with many of those going to the plant that produces the Chevy Volt, GM's extended range electric car.

GM is now planning on building 25,000 Volts this year, up from an earlier estimate of 10,000, the Free Press reported. It is considering building 120,000 Volts a year beginning in 2012, the paper said.

Immigration speech: President Barack Obama heads to El Paso, Texas, on Tuesday to give a speech on the need for comprehensive immigration reform.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said the president's speech is likely to highlight border security improvements and the economic costs stemming from a failure to change course. And senior administration officials said the speech will kick off a campaign-style effort to rally support for an overhaul.

Obama wants to create "a sense of urgency around the country that matches his sense of urgency," one administration official said.

Mississippi River flooding: The Mississippi River level stood at 47.8 feet in Memphis, Tennessee, on Monday evening and is expected to crest at 48 feet today, forecasters said.

The Mississippi is the highest it's been at Memphis since 1937, when it crested at 48.7 feet 14.7 feet above flood stage. That flood killed 500 people and inundated 20 million acres of land, said Col. Vernie Reichling, the Army Corps of Engineers' Memphis District commander.

How the Mississippi River levees could fail
A levee near Tomato, Arkansas, is typical of those that line the sides of the Mississippi River. They can fail in several ways.
May 9th, 2011
09:14 PM ET

How the Mississippi River levees could fail

Pictures can't describe the misery playing out along the Mississippi River for those unprotected by flood levees and walls. Some homes, farms and businesses will be 25 feet underwater for weeks until the water recedes.

The river is still rising from Memphis, Tennessee, to the south. In Memphis, where the river is expected to crest at a near-record 14 feet above flood stage on Tuesday morning, the water was moving at 2 million cubic feet per second on Monday. At that speed, water would fill a football field at a depth of 44 feet, according to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Earthen levees should keep most of the larger towns and cities safe as an extraordinarily high volume of water runs down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico. But levees can fail, in part because moving water has tremendous force. This force will try to erode, saturate, undermine and destroy everything in the way.

FULL POST

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Father, son survived tornado: 'I had to save him,' dad says
Brian Poe and son, Tanner, 15, took cover in a ditch Wednesday as a tornado swept through Apison, Tennessee.
April 30th, 2011
08:47 PM ET

Father, son survived tornado: 'I had to save him,' dad says

Thanks to quick thinking, a father and son in Apison, Tennessee, survived a tornado that slammed the small town during the violent storms that ravaged the Southeast on Wednesday.

As the violent storm system barreled toward Brian Poe and other residents in a span of mobile homes,  just after 8 o'clock, there was precious little time to act, he told CNN's Susan Candiotti.

“I was laying on the couch watching TV, about to sleep and my neighbor called me and told me: ‘It’s coming. Get out of the trailer. It’s coming.”

Poe said he stepped outside his mobile home, summoning his son, 15-year-old Tanner, just as the storm was bearing down on them.

The National Weather Service has confirmed an EF-4 tornado with winds of 174 mph tore through Catoosa County in northwestern Georgia and into southeastern Tennessee. The same tornado that hit Apison had also struck Ringgold, Georgia, about 15 miles to the south, leaving seven dead.

“I kind of walked out and I heard it coming,” Poe said. With raging winds around them, Brian and Tanner Poe darted to a roadside ditch.

“The only thing I could think of was my son … I had to save him,” Poe said.

The only thing the two could do was hold on for dear life, Tanner said.

“Me and Dad were hugging each other laying face down,” Tanner said. “[The storm] was lifting us off the ground." A tree fell on the pair, injuring Brian Poe's back "and the wind pulled it off of us,” Tanner said.

Wednesday was the deadliest day for tornadoes since a 1925 tornado outbreak that killed more than 700 people in seven states, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Saturday on its website.

Poe said he lost several family members in the storm, which has left thousands of people homeless and killed more than 300 people.

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Tornado survivors' stories: 'It looks like an atomic bomb went off'
Some of the worst damage from Wednesday's tornadoes was in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
April 29th, 2011
12:56 AM ET

Tornado survivors' stories: 'It looks like an atomic bomb went off'

[Updated at 3:16 a.m. ET] More than 300 people have been killed by the wave of violent weather that has swept across the South the past two days.

Survivors told of entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble and the terror of tornadoes ripping through their homes and businesses.

Here are the voices of some survivors:

Employees huddled in a windowless break room at a CVS drug store in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as a tornado approached and a deafening roar filled the air, store manager Michael Zutell said.

A mother cradling an infant sprinted inside just before the twister hit.

"Glass is breaking. The woman with the baby is screaming. Part of the drop ceiling fell and boxes fly in," he said.

No one inside the store was injured, Zutell said. "It's mind-boggling to think you walked away."

Shortly before a massive tornado tore through her Tuscaloosa neighborhood on Wednesday, Lucy Arnold Sykes decided the weather was ominous enough to shelter her 3-year-old and 6-year-old children in a bathtub.

"I ran in with the kids and kind of joked (to my husband), 'Don't make fun of me for putting the kids in the bathtub, but I think this is serious,' " she told CNN's "The Situation Room" on Thursday. "He went out for one last look, and … he came back in with kind of a strange look on his face, and he said, 'It's right outside the door.' "

Have the tornadoes affected you? Share your stories, photos and video

The edge of the tornado passed across the street, but the wind tore apart a corner of the house, sent a tree crashing onto the roof, broke nearly all the windows and flipped her vehicle from the curb onto her front lawn.

The family is OK and stayed with friends on Wednesday night.

"(The kids) want to know when they’re going to go back home. I don't think that will be anytime soon. We're going to be looking for a new house," she said.

FULL POST

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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.

FULL POST

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Tornado survivors' stories: Flying Jeeps, moving earth, neighborhoods gone
Some of the worst damage from Wednesday's tornadoes was in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
April 28th, 2011
01:57 AM ET

Tornado survivors' stories: Flying Jeeps, moving earth, neighborhoods gone

[Updated at 9:57 p.m. ET] More than 280 people have been killed by the wave of violent weather that has swept across the South the past two days.

Survivors told of entire neighborhoods reduced to rubble and the terror of tornadoes ripping through their homes and businesses.

Here are the voices of some survivors:

Shortly before a massive tornado tore through her Tuscaloosa, Alabama, neighborhood on Wednesday, Lucy Arnold Sykes decided the weather was ominous enough to shelter her 3-year-old and 6-year-old children in a bathtub.

"I ran in with the kids and kind of joked (to my husband), 'Don't make fun of me for putting the kids in the bathtub, but I think this is serious,' " she told CNN's "The Situation Room" on Thursday. "He went out for one last look, and … he came back in with kind of a strange look on his face, and he said, 'It's right outside the door.' "

Have the tornadoes affected you? Share your stories, photos and video

The edge of the tornado passed across the street, but the wind tore apart a corner of the house, sent a tree crashing onto the roof, broke nearly all the windows and flipped her vehicle from the curb onto her front lawn.

The family is OK and stayed with friends on Wednesday night.

"(The kids) want to know when they’re going to go back home. I don't think that will be anytime soon. We're going to be looking for a new house," she said.

FULL POST

April 27th, 2011
11:41 PM ET

Live blog: 42 killed in Southern storms; heavy damage in Tuscaloosa

An apparent tornado cut through the Tuscaloosa, Alabama, area shortly after 5 p.m. CT (6 p.m. ET).

[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.

At least 25 people have been killed in Alabama, including 15 in Tuscaloosa; at least 11 were killed in Mississippi; one was killed in Arkansas; and one other person was killed in Georgia, according to authorities.

[Updated at 11:23 p.m. ET] An apparent tornado struck the northern Georgia community of Ringgold in Catoosa County, damaging multiple structures including a hotel, which has collapsed, Georgia Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Crystal Paulk-Buchanan said. Information on injuries in Ringgold wasn't immediately available.

An apparent tornado also was reported in southern Georgia's Walker County, where 30 homes were destroyed, Paulk-Buchanan said.

[Updated at 11:02 p.m. ET] Storm-related deaths have now been reported in Tennessee and Georgia, bringing the five-state death toll from Tuesday night's and Wednesday's storms in the South to 39, according to authorities.

One person was killed in Trenton in Georgia's Dade County, and at least one person was killed in Tennessee, officials in those state said.

At least 25 people have been killed in Alabama, including 15 in Tuscaloosa; at least 11 were killed in Mississippi; and one was killed in Arkansas, according to authorities.

[Updated at 10:28 p.m. ET] At least 15 people were killed in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Wednesday as severe storms swept through the city, Mayor Walter Maddox told reporters.

Statewide in Alabama, at least 25 people in died as a result of storms and tornadoes, the state's emergency management director told CNN Wednesday. At least 11 people were killed in Mississippi and one was killed in Arkansas as a result of the storms.

In Tuscaloosa, hundreds of homes and businesses were destroyed, and hundreds more were damaged, Maddox said. Dozens of roads are impassable, he said. Maddox said the city's infrastructure had been "decimated," noting that thousands of residents were without power.

Video from CNN affiliates there showed a massive whirling cloud darkening the sky as it approached Tuscaloosa shortly after 5 p.m. CT.

The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa has canceled classes and suspended normal operations for Thursday, the university said on its website.

[Updated at 10:17 p.m. ET] At least 11 people were killed in Tuesday night's and Wednesday's severe storms in Mississippi, the state's emergency management agency reported Wednesday. This brings the three-state death toll from the Tuesday-Wednesday storms in the South to 37.

In Mississippi, more than 40 injuries have been reported by local officials as a result of the storms, the agency said, and the number of deaths could rise.

At least 25 people have been killed in Alabama, and one was killed in Arkansas, according to authorities.

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Filed under: Alabama • Arkansas • Georgia • Mississippi • Tennessee • Weather
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