(NEW YORK) — At least 32 people died and hundreds of thousands of 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, nine deaths have been reported due to the severe weather.
Georgia has eight confirmed fatalities: seven 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 evening, over 970,000 people had lost power due to storm damage. North Carolina, South Carolina, and Arkansas each had more than 100,000 residents without power. Virginia had over 74,000 residents without power, while Kentucky had around 63,000 and Mississippi had around 60,000.
“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.”
During his daily White House briefing, President Trump expressed his condolences to the lives lost and people displaced by the storms. He said FEMA is on its way to assist them.
“My administration will do everything possible to help those communities get back on their feet,” he said.
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