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At least 18 killed as powerful storm, tornadoes barrel through south

A tornado (Justin Hobson/Wikimedia Commons/Released)

At least 18 people were killed and numerous structures were been damaged or destroyed as a powerful storm system barreled through several southern states Sunday and Monday.

The deadly storms included multiple tornadoes that devastated parts of the south and knocked down power to millions of people from Texas to North Carolina.

One of the hardest-hit states was Mississippi, where 11 deaths have been confirmed. A state of emergency was declared Sunday for Mississippi and Louisiana.

“The damage is devastating and is a good reminder that everyone should stay weather aware,” Louisiana John Bel Edwards wrote Sunday night on Twitter.

One of the victims was a 34-year-old Georgia man who was sleeping in his bedroom Monday morning when a large tree fell on his house in Cartesville, local news station WSB-TV reported.

In Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reves said the state’s first responders were working around the clock to protect people and property.

“This is not how anyone wants to celebrate Easter Sunday,” he wrote on Twitter. “As we reflect on the death and resurrection on this Easter Sunday, we have faith that we will all rise together. To the people of Mississippi, know that you are not alone.”

In the northern Louisiana city of Monroe, the storm destroyed homes, commercial buildings and even a regional airport.

“By the grace of God, early reports show only a few minor injuries,” Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo said in an Instagram post shared by the city. “Please pray for our city! Many of our neighbors and friends have suffered catastrophic damage. We are hurting; but we are not broken. Times like this remind us that WE ARE STRONGER TOGETHER!”

Nearly a million homes had no electricity Monday morning in the Carolinas, Georgia, Arkansas and Alabama, according to PowerOutage.US.

The storm was quickly moving north Monday and federal authorities urged New Yorkers to prepare for heavy rain and powerful winds.

A high wind warning was in effect for New York City and surrounding areas though 6 p.m. The National Weather Service projected winds of 30 to 40 mph throughout the day and gusts of up to 65 mph.

The agency said damaging winds would blow down trees and power lines in New York and southern Connecticut, likely causing “widespread power outages.” Even sturdy and well-secured tent structures could be damaged, officials said in a statement.


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