Severe weather has swept across the South, killing at least 32 people and damaging hundreds of homes from Louisiana into the Appalachian Mountains. Many people spent part of the night early Monday sheltering in basements, closets and bathroom tubs as sirens wailed to warn of possible tornadoes. Eleven people were killed in Mississippi, and six more died in northwest Georgia. Three other bodies were pulled from damaged homes in Arkansas, South Carolina and North Carolina.
The storms blew onward through the night, causing flooding and mudslides in mountainous areas, and knocking out electricity for nearly 1.3 million customers in a path from Texas to Maine, according to poweroutages.us. Striking first on Easter Sunday across a landscape largely emptied by coronavirus stay-at-home orders, the storm front forced some uncomfortable decisions. In Alabama, Gov. Kay Ivey suspended social distancing rules, and some people wearing protective masks huddled closely together in storm shelters.
The National Weather Service tallied hundreds of reports of trees down across the region, including many that punctured roofs and downed power lines. Meteorologists warned the mid-Atlantic states to prepare for potential tornadoes, wind and hail on Monday. The storms knocked down trees across Pennsylvania, and an apparently strong tornado moved through southern South Carolina, leaving chaos in its wake."Everything is up in the air. Power lines are down, trees are all over the place. A suspected twister lifted a house, mostly intact, and deposited it in the middle of a road in central Georgia.
In Louisiana, winds ripped apart a metal aeroplane hangar. Deaths were tallied in small numbers here and there, considering the storm front's vast reach and intensity. Mississippi's death toll rose to 11 early Monday, the state's emergency management agency tweeted, promising details later in the morning. In northwest Georgia, a narrow path of destruction five miles long hit two mobile home parks, killing five people and injuring five more, Murray County Fire Chief Dewayne Bain told WAGA-TV. Another person was killed when a tree fell on a home in Cartersville, the station reported.