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Georgia Governor Declares State Of Emergency, As Severe Weather Turns Deadly

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Damaged trees and homes along Magnolia Street in Hattiesburg, Miss., after a tornado struck on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017. Four people died and at least 25 were injured in the storm. (John Fitzhugh/Biloxi Sun Herald/TNS via Getty Images) John Fitzhugh/Biloxi Sun Herald/TNS via Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption John Fitzhugh/Biloxi Sun Herald/TNS via Getty Images

Overnight in southern Georgia, near the border with Florida, severe weather swept through the region. 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.

He continued:

“These storms have resulted in loss of life, numerous injuries and extensive property damage, and our thoughts and prayers are with Georgians suffering from the storm’s impact. As we continue to assess the damage, I’m prepared to expand or extend this emergency declaration as needed. In addition to the state’s response, all indications suggest we will also be submitting a request for federal assistance as well.”

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.

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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.

Multiple structures damaged in downtown Hattiesburg. #mswx pic.twitter.com/6E9dE3eyzY

— Ryan Moore (@RyanMooreMS) January 21, 2017

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.

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