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Storms in South kill girl in Florida, bring tornado threat

Published
The leveled house of Delores Anderson is viewed Friday, April 19, 2019, after a tornado touched down in Franklin County, Va. (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)

ATLANTA (AP) — A strong storm system barreling through the South on Friday killed an 8-year-old girl in Florida and threatened to bring tornadoes to large parts of the Carolinas and southern Virginia.

A tree fell onto a house in Woodville, Florida, south of Tallahassee, killing the girl and injuring a 12-year-old boy, according to the Leon County Sheriff's Office. The office said in a statement that the girl died at a hospital while the boy suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Their names weren't immediately released.

The same storm system was blamed for the deaths a day earlier of three people in Mississippi and a woman in Alabama.

The threat on Friday shifted farther east, where tornado warnings covered parts of northeast Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia.

The national Storm Prediction Center said 9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were at a moderate risk of severe weather. The region includes the Charlotte, North Carolina metro area.

Torrential downpours, large hail and a few tornadoes were among the hazards, the National Weather Service in Raleigh, North Carolina, warned.

Radar readings appeared to show a tornado formed in western Virginia's Franklin County, south of Roanoke, though damage on the ground still must be assessed, said National Weather Service Meteorologist Phil Hysell. In South Carolina, authorities urged motorists to avoid part of Interstate 26 — the main artery from Upstate through Columbia and all the way to Charleston — because downed trees had left the roadway scattered with debris.

In Georgia, the storm system knocked down trees, caused flooding and cut off power to tens of thousands of people.

A tree came down on an apartment complex in an Atlanta suburb, but only one person reported a minor injury and was treated at the scene, Gwinnett County fire spokesman Capt. Tommy Rutledge told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

In Forsyth County northeast of Atlanta, three firefighters suffered minor injuries when their firetruck overturned during heavy rain and wind, Fire Department Division Chief Jason Shivers told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people cleaned up part of a central Mississippi town hit hard by a tornado on Thursday.

Volunteers and family members were swarming the north side of Morton, where the National Weather Service says a twister with winds as high as 132 mph (212 kph) hit a neighborhood. More than 20 homes were heavily damaged or destroyed. The town of 3,500 is about 30 miles (48 kilometers) east of Jackson.

"When it stopped, there was nothing left," Morton resident Sharon Currie told WAPT-TV. "I was going, 'Oh my God. My house is gone.'"

Damage from the storm system was reported in at least 24 of Mississippi's 82 counties. Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency — the second one he has declared in less than a week due to tornadoes.

Authorities on Friday reported a third storm-related death in the state. Freddie Mobley, 63, died while helping cut a tree that had fallen on a house, Lincoln County Coroner Clay McMorris told the Daily Leader of Brookhaven. Mobley had made a few cuts on the tree and backed away when the trunk shifted before he could move, Deputy Coroner Ricky Alford said.

Two other people who were driving are being counted as storm-related deaths in Mississippi. A woman also died in Alabama when a tree fell on her mobile home Thursday.

Justus Harvey, 16, left, and his friend Gage Lee, 13, both of Forest, Miss., work in tandem to remove a branch Friday, April 19, 2019, in Morton, Miss., as residents begin their cleanup from Thursday's possible tornado touchdown that heavily damaged many homes. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving a variety of damage in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Damaged trees and children frame the property where Delores Anderson's house on Windy Ridge Road in Franklin County was leveled by a tornado Friday, April 19, 2019. From left to right, Bryce Powell, 3, Cooper Altice, 7, Jackson Anderson, 6, and Hunter Powell 8. (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Delores Anderson, left, is comforted by good friend Bea Meeks of Rocky Mount, after her home was destroyed by a tornado Friday, April 19, 2019 on Windy Ridge Road in Franklin County, Va. Anderson was the only one home when the tornado hit. Her husband was at work. She ran for cover under the stairs in her basement. (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Fallen trees and street signs litter the grass off Highway 220 North after a tornado touched down in Franklin County, Va., Friday, April 19, 2019.  (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)
A bus that was taken by a tornado that touched down in Franklin County, Va., is viewed from Fishburn Mountiain Road, Friday, April 19, 2019. (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Delores Anderson, 63, center left, looks toward the wreckage of her house while comforted by friends and neighbors who came to support and help pull belongings from her home after it was destroyed by a tornado Friday, April 19, 2019, in Franklin County, Va. (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Sonya Banes looks at damage caused by a large oak tree that crashed through the ceiling of her mother's house in Learned, Miss., Thursday, April 18, 2019. Several homes were damaged by fallen trees in the tree lined community. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving more than 100,000 people without power across Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Fallen trees line the roads leading into the small community of Learned, Miss., Thursday, April 18, 2019. Several homes were damaged by fallen trees in the tree lined community. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving more than 100,000 people without power across Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Sonya Banes reacts to a large oak tree that crashed through the patio of her mother's house in Learned, Miss., Thursday, April 18, 2019. Several homes were damaged by fallen trees in the community. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving more than 100,000 people without power across Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Ripped tree branches litter a Learned, Miss., home, following severe weather that hit the small community, Thursday, April 18, 2019. Several homes were damaged by fallen trees in the tree lined community. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving more than 100,000 people without power across Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Freda Jenkins looks around the remains of a friend's possible tornado damaged home Friday, April 19, 2019, in Morton, Miss. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving a variety of damage in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Morton, Miss., residents take a visual tour of their storm damaged neighborhood, Friday, April 19, 2019. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving a variety of damage in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
A farm tractor is used to remove debris from a tornado damaged home, Friday, April 19, 2019, in Morton, Miss., as residents begin their cleanup from Thursday's possible tornado touchdown that heavily damaged many homes. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Justus Harvey, 16, left, and his friend Gage Lee, 13, both of Forest, Miss., work in tandem to remove a branch Friday, April 19, 2019, in Morton, Miss., as residents begin their cleanup from Thursday's possible tornado touchdown that heavily damaged many homes. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving a variety of damage in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Delores Anderson, left, is comforted by good friend Bea Meeks of Rocky Mount, after her home was destroyed by a tornado Friday, April 19, 2019 on Windy Ridge Road in Franklin County, Va. Anderson was the only one home when the tornado hit. Her husband was at work. She ran for cover under the stairs in her basement. (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Delores Anderson, left, is comforted by good friend Bea Meeks of Rocky Mount, after her home was destroyed by a tornado Friday, April 19, 2019 on Windy Ridge Road in Franklin County, Va. Anderson was the only one home when the tornado hit. Her husband was at work. She ran for cover under the stairs in her basement. (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Fallen trees and street signs litter the grass off Highway 220 North after a tornado touched down in Franklin County, Va., Friday, April 19, 2019.  (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Fallen trees and street signs litter the grass off Highway 220 North after a tornado touched down in Franklin County, Va., Friday, April 19, 2019. (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Delores Anderson, 63, center left, looks toward the wreckage of her house while comforted by friends and neighbors who came to support and help pull belongings from her home after it was destroyed by a tornado Friday, April 19, 2019, in Franklin County, Va. (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Delores Anderson, 63, center left, looks toward the wreckage of her house while comforted by friends and neighbors who came to support and help pull belongings from her home after it was destroyed by a tornado Friday, April 19, 2019, in Franklin County, Va. (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Morton, Miss., residents take a visual tour of their storm damaged neighborhood, Friday, April 19, 2019. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving a variety of damage in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Morton, Miss., residents take a visual tour of their storm damaged neighborhood, Friday, April 19, 2019. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving a variety of damage in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Freda Jenkins looks around the remains of a friend's possible tornado damaged home Friday, April 19, 2019, in Morton, Miss. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving a variety of damage in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Freda Jenkins looks around the remains of a friend's possible tornado damaged home Friday, April 19, 2019, in Morton, Miss. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving a variety of damage in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
The leveled house of Delores Anderson is viewed Friday, April 19, 2019, after a tornado touched down in Franklin County, Va. (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)
The leveled house of Delores Anderson is viewed Friday, April 19, 2019, after a tornado touched down in Franklin County, Va. (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Justus Harvey, 16, left, and his friend Gage Lee, 13, both of Forest, Miss., work in tandem to remove a branch Friday, April 19, 2019, in Morton, Miss., as residents begin their cleanup from Thursday's possible tornado touchdown that heavily damaged many homes. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving a variety of damage in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Justus Harvey, 16, left, and his friend Gage Lee, 13, both of Forest, Miss., work in tandem to remove a branch Friday, April 19, 2019, in Morton, Miss., as residents begin their cleanup from Thursday's possible tornado touchdown that heavily damaged many homes. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving a variety of damage in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Sonya Banes reacts to a large oak tree that crashed through the patio of her mother's house in Learned, Miss., Thursday, April 18, 2019. Several homes were damaged by fallen trees in the community. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving more than 100,000 people without power across Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Sonya Banes reacts to a large oak tree that crashed through the patio of her mother's house in Learned, Miss., Thursday, April 18, 2019. Several homes were damaged by fallen trees in the community. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving more than 100,000 people without power across Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Damaged trees and children frame the property where Delores Anderson's house on Windy Ridge Road in Franklin County was leveled by a tornado Friday, April 19, 2019. From left to right, Bryce Powell, 3, Cooper Altice, 7, Jackson Anderson, 6, and Hunter Powell 8. (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Damaged trees and children frame the property where Delores Anderson's house on Windy Ridge Road in Franklin County was leveled by a tornado Friday, April 19, 2019. From left to right, Bryce Powell, 3, Cooper Altice, 7, Jackson Anderson, 6, and Hunter Powell 8. (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)
Justus Harvey, 16, left, and his friend Gage Lee, 13, both of Forest, Miss., work in tandem to remove a branch Friday, April 19, 2019, in Morton, Miss., as residents begin their cleanup from Thursday's possible tornado touchdown that heavily damaged many homes. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving a variety of damage in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Justus Harvey, 16, left, and his friend Gage Lee, 13, both of Forest, Miss., work in tandem to remove a branch Friday, April 19, 2019, in Morton, Miss., as residents begin their cleanup from Thursday's possible tornado touchdown that heavily damaged many homes. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving a variety of damage in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Sonya Banes looks at damage caused by a large oak tree that crashed through the ceiling of her mother's house in Learned, Miss., Thursday, April 18, 2019. Several homes were damaged by fallen trees in the tree lined community. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving more than 100,000 people without power across Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Sonya Banes looks at damage caused by a large oak tree that crashed through the ceiling of her mother's house in Learned, Miss., Thursday, April 18, 2019. Several homes were damaged by fallen trees in the tree lined community. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving more than 100,000 people without power across Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Fallen trees line the roads leading into the small community of Learned, Miss., Thursday, April 18, 2019. Several homes were damaged by fallen trees in the tree lined community. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving more than 100,000 people without power across Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Fallen trees line the roads leading into the small community of Learned, Miss., Thursday, April 18, 2019. Several homes were damaged by fallen trees in the tree lined community. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving more than 100,000 people without power across Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
A farm tractor is used to remove debris from a tornado damaged home, Friday, April 19, 2019, in Morton, Miss., as residents begin their cleanup from Thursday's possible tornado touchdown that heavily damaged many homes. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
A farm tractor is used to remove debris from a tornado damaged home, Friday, April 19, 2019, in Morton, Miss., as residents begin their cleanup from Thursday's possible tornado touchdown that heavily damaged many homes. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Ripped tree branches litter a Learned, Miss., home, following severe weather that hit the small community, Thursday, April 18, 2019. Several homes were damaged by fallen trees in the tree lined community. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving more than 100,000 people without power across Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Ripped tree branches litter a Learned, Miss., home, following severe weather that hit the small community, Thursday, April 18, 2019. Several homes were damaged by fallen trees in the tree lined community. Strong storms again roared across the South on Thursday, topping trees and leaving more than 100,000 people without power across Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
A bus that was taken by a tornado that touched down in Franklin County, Va., is viewed from Fishburn Mountiain Road, Friday, April 19, 2019. (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)
A bus that was taken by a tornado that touched down in Franklin County, Va., is viewed from Fishburn Mountiain Road, Friday, April 19, 2019. (Heather Rousseau/The Roanoke Times via AP)