Georgia Governor Extends State of Emergency Following Fatal Weekend Tornadoes
Following a recommendation from Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMHSA) officials and local Emergency Management Agencies, Gov. Nathan Deal is expanding his emergency declaration for nine additional counties in South Central Georgia impacted by severe weather and tornado touchdowns. He is also extending the executive order to run through midnight on January 30.
The state of emergency now exists in the following 16 counties: Atkinson, Baker, Berrien, Brooks, Calhoun, Clay, Colquitt, Cook, Crisp, Dougherty, Lowndes, Mitchell, Thomas, Turner, Wilcox and Worth. Mitchell and Dougherty Counties, previously impacted by similar severe weather, are now covered under this emergency declaration.
The National Weather Service said 39 possible tornadoes were reported over the weekend. The agency sent out teams to examine the damage and confirm how many of the storms in fact did produce a tornado.
As of Monday afternoon, the death toll has now climbed to 20. Georgia reported 15 deaths Sunday, and four people died Saturday in Mississippi. In northern Florida, a woman died after a tree crashed into her home in Lake City as a storm passed through.
Georgia Gov. Deal plans to visit the affected areas on Wednesday, January 25.
If you’re wondering how to aid the many people left with no power or water, destroyed homes and other hardships, here are some easy ways you can help now:
- Donate to the Red Cross, which is already on the scene helping find food, medical care, and shelter for those in need.
- National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster also provides information for state-specific organizations that help with disaster relief on a more local scale.
- If you’re in these areas, ask these same local organizations if they’re looking for volunteers and what those hours and locations are.
- If you live near an affected area, you can drop off clothes and other supplies at your nearby Goodwill or Salvation Army locations.
- Additionally, volunteer programs in specific towns like Hattiesburg, Mississippi are accepting non-perishable food items, baby supplies, plastic food containers, flashlights, batteries, and rain ponchos.