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HomeBreaking NewsAt least 7 dead as severe winds, tornadoes hammer US South

At least 7 dead as severe winds, tornadoes hammer US South

'Quick read' news summary

SELMA, Ala. — A massive storm system whipping up severe winds and spawning tornadoes cut a path across the U.S. South, killing at least seven people in Georgia and Alabama, where a twister damaged buildings and tossed cars in the streets of historic downtown Selma.

Authorities said a clearer picture of the extent of the damage and a search for additional victims would come Friday, when conditions were expected to clear. After the storm began easing Thursday night, tens of thousands of customers were without power across the two states.

In Selma, a city etched in the history of the civil rights movement, the city council used lights from cellphones as they held a meeting on the sidewalk to declare a state of emergency.

Six of the deaths were recorded Autauga County, Alabama, 41 miles (66 kilometers) northeast of Selma, where an estimated 40 homes were damaged or destroyed by a tornado that cut a 20-mile (32-kilometer) path across two rural communities, said Ernie Baggett, the county’s emergency management director.

At least 12 people were injured severely enough to be taken to hospitals by emergency responders, Baggett told The Associated Press. He said crews were focused Thursday night on cutting through downed trees to look for people who may need help.

“This is the worst that I’ve seen here in this county,” Baggett said of the damage.

In Georgia, a passenger died when a tree fell on a vehicle in Jackson, Butts County Coroner Lacey Prue said. In the same county southeast of Atlanta, the

-- A massive storm system whipping up severe winds and spawning tornadoes cut a path across the U.S. South, killing at least seven people in Georgia and Alabama, where a twister damaged buildings and tossed cars in the streets of historic downtown Selma. After the storm began easing Thursday night, tens of thousands of customers were without power across the two states. In Georgia, a passenger died when a tree fell on a vehicle in Jackson, Butts County Coroner Lacey Prue said.

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