Severe thunderstorms raging across northern Florida and southern
Georgia early on Wednesday morning were expected to expand across
portions of the East Coast, from Virginia, through the Carolinas,
National Weather Service meteorologist, Corey Mead said.
Storms could drop roughly 2 to 5 more inches of rain in areas and
launch fresh tornados, before they begin to weaken on Thursday, Mead
There have been 27 confirmed weather-related deaths and more than
200 people injured across Arkansas and Mississippi, the hardest hit
of six states struck by the storm system, as tornadoes reduced homes
to rubble, shredded trees and launched vehicles through the air.
Deaths have also been reported in Oklahoma, Iowa, Alabama, and
Tennessee. The Florida Highway Patrol has reported one
weather-related drowning death, CNN reported on Wednesday.
A state of emergency was declared on Wednesday in Pensacola's
Escambia County, Florida, where emergency officials fought to save
motorists stranded by flood waters. County officials asked residents
not to drive amid rising water, damaged roads, and storm debris and
closed schools, government offices, and a court.
Severe conditions may persist into Thursday, though "it looks like
the weather may be quieting down as warmer, more humid air is pushed
offshore by a cold front moving through the Appalachians," Mead
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President Barack Obama has declared a major disaster in Arkansas and
ordered federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts,
the White House said.
Shelters have been set up for thousands of families forced out of
their homes while the National Guard, local police and residents who
had lost all their possessions sifted through the rubble looking for
More than 2,000 houses and 100 commercial properties have been
(Reporting by Robbie Ward and Emily Le Coz in Tupelo, Mississippi,
Curtis Skinner in New York, Colin Sims in Vilonia, Arkansas, Verna
Gates in Birmingham, Kevin Gray in Miami, John Peragine in Lake
Lure, North Carolina, Tim Ghianni in Nashville, Tennessee and Scott
DiSavino in New York; writing by Eric M. Johnson; editing by Sofina
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