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Posted: January 23, 2017

At least 15 dead in severe storms across Georgia

People stop to take a photo of a gas station damaged by an apparent tornado, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Albany, Ga. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency in several counties, including Cook, that have suffered deaths, injuries and severe damage from weekend storms. (AP Photo/Branden Camp)
Branden Camp
People stop to take a photo of a gas station damaged by an apparent tornado, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Albany, Ga. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency in several counties, including Cook, that have suffered deaths, injuries and severe damage from weekend storms. (AP Photo/Branden Camp)

By WSBTV.com

At least 15 people died in Georgia as two rounds of severe weather swept through over the weekend.

North Georgia avoided the deadly storms and tornadoes that hit South Georgia on Sunday afternoon, but did have a few severe storms move through.

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In Gordon County, strong winds knocked down trees and power lines, closing several roads. There was also widespread flooding in the county. Gordon County Schools decided to close on Monday because of the damage and closed roads.

Albany's fire chief confirmed a tornado touched down around 3 p.m. Sunday. The same tornado also hit East Albany, leaving significant damage.

At least four people died in the area, bringing the overall toll to at least 19 people killed over the weekend by a severe weather system sweeping the Southeast.

>> Related: Severe weather kills 19 in Georgia and Mississippi; death toll could rise

Local officials say search and rescue operations are underway after a reported tornado caused widespread destruction in the county Sunday evening.

Before the three latest deaths were confirmed, Georgia officials had reported 12 deaths statewide.

Four died Saturday in Mississippi.

During a news conference Sunday afternoon, President Donald Trump promised federal help for Georgia communities hit by the storms.

11 killed in first round of severe storms

Eleven people were killed and 23 injured after strong storms moved through Georgia Saturday night into Sunday morning. 

Following the storm, Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for seven south-central Georgia counties: Atkinson, Berrien, Brooks, Colquitt, Cook, Lowndes and Thomas. 

Seven of the 11 people who died in the tornadoes were killed at a mobile home park in Cook County, Coroner Tim Purvis said. 

"All you hear is people screaming, 'Help me, help me,'" said AJ Miley, who lives in the Sunshine Mobile Home Park.

Devocheo Williams said he walked out of his mangled trailer to see his neighborhood and neighbors being tossed through the air.

"All I saw was a little girl flown up and thrown in a ditch. Three seconds later, the trailer got picked up off the ground and landed on top of the mother and son," Williams said. 

The trailer park is located on Callie Harris Road, south of Adel. Most of the 40 homes in the park were either damaged or wiped out altogether.

"It's heartbreaking," said Edward Allen, who spent the day looking for survivors and clearing debris. "It's really affected our community."

Authorities told Thomas that about two dozen people were hurt in the county, some very seriously. They said the number of deaths could rise.

Two people died in Brooks County, Sheriff Mike Dewey said. Both were in the same home in Barney that was displaced into Highway 122. 

The Berrien County Sheriff's Office also confirmed that at least two people died during the storm.

Berrien County Coroner Robert S. Lovein Jr. said the damage is extensive and "terrible."

At least three more injuries were confirmed in Thomas County.

The Sheriff's Office said a mobile home at Airline and Centennial roads was destroyed while a man was still inside.

This is believed to be the deadliest storm since the April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak in Ringgold and Cedartown that killed 15 people. It is also the second major storm to rip through South Georgia this month.

Other killer storms in recent years:

  • March 27, 1994: 18 were killed on Palm Sunday in the Floyd County area.
  • March 20, 1998: 14 were killed in Hall and White counties.
  • April 8, 1998: Seven were killed in and around Dunwoody city in DeKalb, and in Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.
  • Feb. 14, 2000: 19 were killed in Southwest Georgia/Mitchell County,Grady County, Colquitt County.
  • March 20, 2003: Six were killed in southwestern Georgia.
  • March 1, 2007: Six were killed in Newton.
  • March 14, 2008: One was killed in Atlanta.
  • April 27, 2011: Ringgold and Cedartown reported 15 deaths.
  • January 2013: One was killed in Adairsville.

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