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Georgia Gov. Declares State Of Emergency As Severe Weather Sweeps Southeast

Damaged trees and homes are scattered along Magnolia Street in Hattiesburg, Miss., after a tornado struck on Saturday. Four people died in the storm.

Overnight in southern Georgia, near the border with Florida, severe weather turned deadly. At least 11 people were killed and 23 more were injured as the area was racked with storms, according to local officials.

Now, Gov. Nathan Deal has declared a state of emergency Sunday morning for seven counties in the state.

"These storms have devastated communities and homes in South Central Georgia, and the state is making all resources available to the impacted areas," Deal said in a statement.

Deal continued: "I urge all Georgians to exercise caution and vigilance in order to remain safe and prevent further loss of life or injuries."

In his opening remarks at a Sunday swearing-in ceremony for senior White House staff, President Trump said that he had spoken with Deal earlier in the day.

He had expressed his "sincere condolences for the lives taken," Trump said, adding that people in Georgia have "suffered greatly" from the storms.

The Georgia Emergency Management Agency has also issued a warning that there is "a HIGH RISK for severe weather" for much of the state Sunday.

The deaths overnight in southern Georgia occurred in Cook, Brooks and Berrien counties, according to Catherine Howden of the GEMA.

National Weather Service Atlanta had issued a flash flood watch and a tornado watch in the region Saturday, but officials could not clarify further whether tornadoes were to blame for the loss of life overnight.

This is not the first time the weather turned deadly in the Southeast this weekend. As WABE's Elly Yu reports, at least four people died when a tornado swept through southern Mississippi.

That predawn tornado had winds above 136 miles per hour, according to The Associated Press.

Storms also tore through homes and buildings in Alabama, Louisiana and Texas in the past two days.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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