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Violent storms kill 8 in Southeast

A powerful system pounds the region with tornadoes, hail and lightning, damaging homes and downing power lines.

April 06, 2011|By Stephen Ceasar, Los Angeles Times

A powerful storm system of tornadoes, hailstorms and lightning pounded the South, killing at least eight people and leaving a wake of uprooted trees, downed power lines and damaged homes.

The storms swept quickly through northeast Texas and Oklahoma and rolled through into the South on Monday and early Tuesday, hitting Georgia and the Carolinas. The system was expected to pass through Florida and into the Atlantic Ocean by Tuesday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

At least six people were killed in Georgia, including a 3-year-old and his father who died when a tree fell into their home in Butts County. In rural Dodge County, the body of a 45-year-old man was found under rubble after powerful winds lifted a mobile home off its foundation, officials said.

In Tennessee, an 87-year-old man was found dead outside his Memphis home, electrocuted by toppled power lines, officials said. In Mississippi, a 20-year-old man was killed when his car struck a fallen tree.

The National Weather Service is investigating about two dozen reports of tornadoes throughout the region and received more than 900 reports of wind damage, said Tom Bradshaw, a meteorologist with the agency.

"This is a typical severe spring weather outbreak," Bradshaw said. "What's fortunate is that we haven't had any very strong tornadoes with this particular system."

In Georgia, roads across the state remained closed, blocked by downed power lines and toppled trees. State officials on Tuesday began surveying the aftermath of the storms, with nearly half of Georgia's counties reporting damage.

"It is scattered all over the state," said Lisa Janak, spokeswoman for the Georgia Emergency Management Agency. "Mother Nature played no favorites."

stephen.ceasar@latimes.com

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