(NEW YORK) — At least 26 people died and hundreds of thousands were left without power after violent storms swept through the South on Sunday and into early Monday.
Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi all declared a state of emergency in response to the storms, which included several powerful tornadoes, flash flooding and large hail.
In Mississippi, at least 11 residents died due to the storms, including four in Jefferson Davis County, two in Jones County and two in Lawrence County.
The two Lawrence County victims were a sheriff’s deputy and his wife, the county sheriff’s office announced late Sunday night. Deputy Robert Ainsworth was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, and his wife, Paula, was a Justice Court deputy clerk, officials said.
“April is our historically most dangerous month of the year,” Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Greg Michel told George Stephanopoulos on “Good Morning America” Monday. “What happened yesterday is certainly an indicator of how dangerous these storms can be, so we’ll do the cleanup efforts and get ready for what we anticipate to be a very busy and active tornado month here in April.”
In South Carolina, eight deaths have been reported due to the severe weather.
Georgia has six confirmed fatalities: five in Murray County and one in Bartow County.
In Arkansas, one fatality has been reported in Jefferson County.
All flights out of Louisiana’s Monroe Regional Airport have been canceled until further notice after private planes and a hanger were damaged.
As of Monday morning, Georgia, Alabama and Arkansas each had more than 100,000 residents without power. South Carolina had more than 80,000 residents without power, while Kentucky and Mississippi had more than 70,000, Texas had more than 60,000 and North Carolina and West Virginia had more than 50,000.
Kentucky had more than 60,000 residents without power, while Mississippi had more than 40,000 and Georgia and Louisiana had more than 30,000.
“This is not how anyone wants to celebrate Easter Sunday,” Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said on social media. “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,” he added. “The state and our first responders are working around the clock and will not rest until this is over.”
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