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    Authorities spent Monday cleaning up and assessing damage after powerful storms ripped through North Georgia overnight, killing at least eight people in the state and leaving thousands in the dark. The widespread storms produced a confirmed EF-1 tornado in Bartow County and possible tornadoes in several other counties, including Murray, where seven people were killed. The National Weather Service is still working to confirm the other tornado reports and identify storm tracks. » AROUND NORTH GEORGIA: Complete coverage of overnight storms » IN ATLANTA: Downed trees, power lines in metro Atlanta, but lives spared Here’s the latest: [4 p.m.]: Gov. Brian Kemp said that seven counties experienced possible tornadoes overnight, mentioning Murray, Catoosa, Chattooga, Floyd, Upson, Walker and Wayne. He did not mention Bartow County, which Channel 2 Action News reported had a confirmed EF-1 tornado, or south Fulton County, which had a possible tornado, according to local officials. Kemp added that 59,000 Georgians remain without power due to the overnight storms, which injured 49 people and destroyed 23 homes.  “It was devastating. It looked like a bomb went off ... I know that we will rebuild together what was lost,” Kemp said. [3 p.m.]: Officials confirmed that an EF-1 tornado with wind speeds up to 90 mph hit Bartow County early Monday morning, according to Channel 2 Action News. While damages are still being assessed, Georgia Power crews are working to restore electricity to about 19,300 people. Company spokesman John Kraft said the largest number of outages Monday morning were in Chattooga and DeKalb counties, with about 3,300 to 4,000 apiece. In addition, about 40,000 EMC customers remained without power Monday afternoon, with nearly half of them in North Georgia.  “Crews will work around the clock to rebuild the power system in many areas where multiple spans of power lines, transformers and poles were destroyed,” Georgia EMC spokeswoman Terri Statham said. “Restoration time will depend on the location of outages and severity of damage.” She added that linemen are traveling in separate trucks and must stay at least 6 feet apart while working to practice social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic. [2 p.m.]: The death toll in Murray County has increased from five to seven, County Coroner Jason Gibson told AJC.com. All of the victims are adults who lived in mobile homes in the northwest Georgia county. Their names have not been released. Gibson said the storms moved through just before 11 p.m. Sunday. The lifelong Murray resident says he's never seen damage like this.  “We’ve had a few tornadoes but nothing severe,” he said. “Nothing with this many fatalities.” In addition to the deaths in Murray County, a 34-year-old man was killed in Bartow County when a tree fell onto his home. He was identified by the county corner as William McConnell. [1:30 p.m.]: A couple in the Belvedere Park neighborhood of DeKalb County are cleaning up after a tree fell on their roof and landed on a guest bedroom. No one was injured, resident Emma Ceplina said. She and her husband, Jared Shugart, were awakened by the sound of high winds lashing against their townhouse about 2 a.m. Shugart went to check for damage and smelled the scent of rain and soil inside the home, Ceplina said.  She said they are fortunate no one was sleeping in the guest room when the tree came through the roof. The couple spent the rest of the night camped out in the living room.  'It's another hard pill to swallow in a year made up of hard pills,' Ceplina said. [1 p.m.]: No deaths or injuries have been reported in Fulton County after a likely tornado touched down early Monday, according to a county spokesman.  The storm made landfall about 2:40 a.m. and ran along the border of College Park and East Point, National Weather Service forecaster Katie Martin told AJC.com on Monday.  “We always wait to have results form a survey before we say anything with certainty ... but it looked pretty mean on the radar,” Martin said.  Fulton emergency staff got a report of a tree falling on a house on Rippling Brook Trace in Chattahoochee Hills, where one person chose not to be taken to a hospital. Neighboring Hapeville posted on Facebook a photo of trees that had downed power lines on Myrtle Street, but City Manager Tim Young said the power there had come back as of about 12:40 p.m. He said there was also a limb on a power line on Old Jonesboro Road, adding that Georgia Power crews were responding. [11:55 a.m.]: Gov. Brian Kemp is in Murray County assessing the storm damage that left seven people dead and 23 others injured, according to WSB Radio. [11:25 a.m.]: Gov. Brian Kemp has declared a state of emergency after deadly storms hit Georgia overnight. Read the full order here. [10:30 a.m.]: While some parts of North Georgia are dealing with wind and storm damage, others are flooded. Dalton Public Works director Andrew Parker said flooding in the city is the worst he’s seen in 10 years on the job. Mill Creek in Dalton reached a level of almost 15 feet, which is 4 feet above flood stage. The city’s fire department responded to eight calls of motorists stranded in the floodwaters overnight. Authorities are urging residents not to drive across flooded roads and to heed barricades and road closures.    [10 a.m.]: Despite major damage to several homes and roadways along a 12- to 15-mile storm track, no injuries have been reported in Upson County. Sheriff Dan Kilgore said he surveyed the path of the storm from the air Monday morning. It appears a powerful tornado touched down south of Thomaston and continued east of the city, ripping up trees, damaging barns and even lifting one house from its foundation along Yatesville Highway. The home landed intact about 50 to 100 yards away. Authorities have accounted for that home’s residents, and it is believed no one was inside at the time, Kilgore said. “It’s a very long path, and we just pray that no one was injured that we don’t know about,” he said. RELATED: House lands on Georgia road after storm lifts it off foundation The strength of the storm is still being determined by the National Weather Service. The sheriff said he spoke with one couple in its path who had to hold onto each other, huddled in a hallway, as strong winds ripped the roof and chimney from their home. The house is likely a total loss, according to Kilgore.  “It’s just amazing what power that storm had,” he said. Had the storm shifted just 3 miles to the west, it would have ripped through the center of Thomaston. Kilgore said he is grateful the city was largely spared. Power is out all across the area, and cell service is down.  At one point during the night, phone lines were also disabled. The county’s 911 center could receive calls, but no one could get through to ask for help. While landlines have since been restored, Kilgore said he is worried there are residents who need emergency assistance and have been unable to make cellphone calls.  “There are a lot of roadways that are impassable,” he said. “A lot of driveways are blocked by trees, and we can’t get up to the houses to see if people are injured.” Once the roads are clear, Kilgore said he hopes to have a better idea of the storm’s toll. [9:15 a.m.]: Five people were killed and nearly two dozen were injured during the storms in one northwest Georgia county. Murray County fire Chief Dewayne Bain confirmed the deaths to AJC.com. Twenty-three others were taken to local hospitals with varying injuries, he said. No other information was immediately provided on storm damage in Murray. [8:30 a.m.]: A house was picked up and dropped in the middle of a road when the storms blew through Upson County overnight, Channel 2 Action News reported. It landed on Trinity Road east of Thomaston, according to the news station. Authorities have reported several trees down and other damage in the area. Downed trees have also been reported in several locations in south Fulton County. In East Point, a tree fell on Monique Best’s car at the Lexington Apartments on Kentucky Court. Best drives for Uber and said Monday she does not know what she was going to do for work. [7:45 a.m.]: Crews have been working since 5 a.m. to clear blocked roads in Putnam County, where damaging winds and a possible tornado were reported overnight. Trees are down “as far as we can see” on Reids Road north of Eatonton, the Putnam County Public Works department said on Facebook. Drivers are asked to avoid the area as the road is completely blocked.  Godfrey Road is also blocked, according to Putnam County authorities. It is unknown if anyone was injured by the storms in the Eatonton area. Other communities in Georgia, including Murray and Bartow counties, have reported deaths. RELATED: Tree falls onto Bartow home, killing man as he slept Gov. Brian Kemp tweeted his condolences Monday morning. “This morning, several communities are grappling with serious storm damage, and I ask everyone to lift them up in prayer,” he said on Twitter. “Our hearts go out to the loved ones and friends of those we lost.” The National Weather Service has not yet confirmed if any of those storms produced tornadoes, although possible tornadoes were reported throughout North Georgia. A storm capable of producing a tornado was spotted in the area of Putnam, Hancock and Greene counties about 3:30 a.m., according to Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brad Nitz.  [7:08 a.m.]: Atlanta Journal-Constitution multimedia journalist John Spink filed this photo of a large tree that fell in the 4200 block of Washington Road in south Fulton County. Those traveling through the areas of East Point, College Park and South Fulton on Monday morning will need to use extra caution on the roads, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brian Monahan said.  UPDATE [7 a.m.]: Reports of storm damage are rolling in after a possible tornado touched down in Upson County.  Officials are urging residents to stay inside while authorities work to assess damage. Several trees are down and damage was reported east of Thomaston, according to the Upson Emergency Management Agency. Cell service is also down in the area. Radar activity indicated a “large and extremely dangerous tornado” was located over parts of Thomaston and Lincoln Park just before 2:30 a.m., according to Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brad Nitz.  It is likely the possible tornado produced serious damage, he said.  ORIGINAL STORY: The severe weather threat is over for North Georgia after a system of powerful storms tore through the region early Monday morning. The storms produced a possible tornado in south Fulton County, according to Channel 2 Action News. The National Weather Service is also working to confirm reports of tornadoes in Chattooga, Putnam and Upson counties. At least six people were killed in the storms, Channel 2 reported. Five were killed in Murray County in northwest Georgia, and a 34-year-old man was killed in Bartow County when a tree fell on a house, officials told the news station. Two others inside the Cartersville home were injured.  RELATED: Tree falls onto Bartow home, killing man as he slept Other parts of North Georgia saw heavy rain, damaging wind gusts and lightning for several hours overnight. More than 75,000 Georgia Power customers and an additional 89,000 Georgia EMC customers are beginning Monday morning in the dark. “Things are looking a lot better for now as the severe weather threat has shifted well to our south and east,” Channel 2 meteorologist Eboni Deon said. “We still do have some active warnings in place, but not for North Georgia.” Some lingering rain associated with the storm system is moving into Athens but will clear in the next few hours, she said. All of North Georgia will get a chance to dry out Monday as no additional rainfall is in the forecast.  In the past 12 hours, areas in the northwest corner of the state recorded up to 4 inches of rainfall, according to Channel 2. As many as 7 inches fell in parts of Whitfield County, where water rescues were reported. Deon said flooding could remain an issue for northwest Georgia, and gusty wind will also be a factor for much of the morning. A wind advisory remains in place through 10 a.m. Deon said things will really start to improve by midday. “It’s going to end up being a really quiet afternoon, and not as gusty,” she said. “We'll still have a little bit of a breeze coming in, but definitely those winds are going to be easing.” A few clouds could mix in with the sunshine, but she said overall metro Atlanta will be in great shape for Monday afternoon and evening. Projected afternoon highs in the low 70s are right on target for this time of year. Areas south of the city will be warmer Monday ahead of a secondary front, Deon said. Once it moves through, she expects to see temperatures drop back into the 60s.  The next chance of rain does not arrive until Wednesday, and there is no severe weather risk, according to Channel 2. That’s good news for those communities with extensive cleanup after Monday’s storms. In south Fulton County, a likely tornado kicked up debris and knocked out power along South Fulton Parkway and Stonewall Tell Road, according to Channel 2. The National Weather Service has not yet recorded the extent of the damage or confirmed if a tornado touched down.  Channel 2 meteorologist Brian Monahan said that radar activity indicated a tornado moved through the area about 2:30 a.m. “We saw all of the debris — that’s trees, leaves, branches — lofted into the sky,” he said. “The radar is capable of picking that up.” Those traveling through the areas of East Point, College Park and South Fulton on Monday morning will need to use extra caution on the roads, he said. There are reports of downed trees in the area. “There will be debris,” Monahan said. “Leave the high beams on and leave lots of stopping distance for you as you head out on some of these darker roads. While drivers will want to take it slow on surface streets, the metro Atlanta interstate system does not appear to be impacted by Monday’s storms, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.  “The good news is the interstates have been well-behaved,” traffic reporter Mark Arum said. Conditions remain lighter than normal Monday morning with fewer commuters on the roads amid Georgia’s shelter-in-place order.  — Staff writers Alexis Stevens, Ben Brasch, Kristal Dixon and Nedra Rhone contributed to this article. » For a detailed forecast, visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution weather page. » For updated traffic information, listen to News 95.5 and AM 750 WSB and follow @ajcwsbtraffic on Twitter.  » Download The Atlanta Journal-Constitution app for weather alerts on-the-go.
  • Hurricane Michael battered Florida's Panhandle on Wednesday, bringing with it destructive 155 mph winds and life-threatening storm surge. >> Hurricane Michael: Latest updates Its winds ripped apart homes, and feet of storm surge left homes underwater. >> On ActionNewsJax.com: Get the latest live updates on Hurricane Michael in Florida here. >> On WSBTV.com: Get the latest live updates on Hurricane Michael in Georgia here. Photos and video from the Panama City area show the path of destruction left behind by the near-Category 5 storm. >> Read more trending news  Check them out below:
  • President Donald Trump is likely to visit storm-ravaged areas of Florida and Georgia hit by Hurricane Michael early next week, White House officials told reporters aboard Air Force One on Wednesday. >> Hurricane Michael: Latest updates The president spoke with Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey during the flight to receive updates on the storm, which barreled into Florida on Wednesday and pounded parts of south and middle Georgia with rain and wind. >> On ActionNewsJax.com: Get the latest live updates on Hurricane Michael in Florida here. >> On WSBTV.com: Get the latest live updates on Hurricane Michael in Georgia here. The White House said Trump “offered any federal resources necessary and continues to receive regular updates.” >> Read more trending news  Read more here.
  • Even as the storm still rages, Hurricane Michael is already making its mark on history. >> Watch the news report here Hurricane Michael made landfall Wednesday on the Florida Panhandle with winds of 155 miles per hour. A hurricane reaches Category 5 status when winds reach 157 miles per hour. >> Hurricane Michael: Latest updates Only a few storms have made landfall in the United States stronger than Hurricane Michael. Only three Category 5 storms have ever hit the continental United States; Hurricane Katrina, a Category 3, was not one of them. Before meteorologists and weather experts named storms, a Category 5 hurricane hit the Florida Keys on Labor Day 1935. That storm holds the record with winds of a staggering 185 miles per hour. >> On ActionNewsJax.com: Get the latest live updates on Hurricane Michael in Florida here. The second-worst storm to hit the continental U.S. was Hurricane Camille, which hit far western Mississippi in 1969 as a Category 5 storm. The third-worst storm on the list is one still fresh in the minds of many Floridians: Hurricane Andrew, which hit South Florida in August 1992. The storm tore through Homestead as a Category 5 with winds peaking at 165 miles per hour. >> On WSBTV.com: Get the latest live updates on Hurricane Michael in Georgia here. That brings us to the present with Hurricane Michael, which is now the fourth-strongest hurricane in U.S. history. When it comes to hurricanes that hit Florida’s Panhandle, Michael’s wind speed at landfall surpassed Hurricane Opal, which was the previous record holder. Opal made landfall near Pensacola as a Category 3 in 1995. Nine people died in Hurricane Opal, and the damage totaled more than $4.7 billion. >> Read more trending news  Michael is stronger still than Hurricane Irma when it slammed into the Keys in 2017 with winds of 130 miles per hour – and Michael’s winds are three times stronger than what Central Florida experienced from Irma. One comparison that will resonate with people is to last year’s “M” hurricane, Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico and killed thousands. Maria made landfall over southeast Puerto Rico with winds of 155 miles per hour – the same intensity as Michael when it hit Mexico Beach, Florida, on Wednesday, though the eye of Maria was slightly larger, which allowed for more widespread damage.
  • Ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Michael, thousands of people on the Florida Panhandle are heeding the warning to prepare for the worst or get out. >> Get the latest live updates on Hurricane Michael in Florida here. >> Get the latest live updates on Hurricane Michael in Georgia here. Photos on social media show deserted store shelves, stacked sandbags, busy evacuation routes, and ominous clouds closing in on the coast. >> Read more trending news  Check out some of the posts below:
  • Delta Air Lines is warning flights in Florida and Alabama could be disrupted by Hurricane Michael. >> Hurricane Michael: Live updates Atlanta-based Delta said flights to, from or through Florida's Fort Walton Beach, Panama City, Pensacola and Tallahassee, as well as Mobile, Alabama, could be affected by the hurricane. Delta passengers with flights booked to, from or through those cities on Tuesday or Wednesday can change their itineraries to avoid the storm without paying certain change fees. >> On AJC.com: Delta caps some air fares due to Hurricane Michael The airline said it is monitoring the storm, which is predicted to move through south Georgia and the Carolinas “by mid-week into Friday as the storm weakens,” according to the carrier. Meanwhile, Dallas-based Southwest warned that flights could be disrupted in Atlanta through Friday. Flights also could be disrupted through Tuesday in Cancun, Mexico, and Havana, Cuba; and from Tuesday through Thursday in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Panama City and Pensacola, Florida, according to Southwest.  >> Read more trending news  Flights may be delayed, diverted or canceled, the airline said. Southwest said customers who have flights booked to, from or through those cities on those dates can rebook without paying an additional charge, under certain restrictions.
  • Hurricanes can leave behind tons of damage, including flooding. But did you know that treading through the wrong kind of water can cause illnesses or even death? Floodwaters and standing water are often contaminated, posing several risks, such as infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries. Here are six sicknesses you should beware of in the aftermath: Diarrheal diseases Drinking or eating anything that has come in contact with floodwaters can lead to cryptosporidiosis, E. coli or giardiasis. While cryptosporidiosis and giardiasis are brought on by parasites, E. coli is caused by bacteria. Symptoms from each include diarrhea, gas, nausea and vomiting. Cryptosporidiosis, however, can even be fatal for those with weakened immune systems, such as AIDS or cancer.  Wound infections Open wounds and rashes that are exposed to floodwater can cause tetanus or Vibrio vulnificus. Tetanus is a bacterial infection, and it can enter the body through breaks in the skin like a cut. >> 10 tips to stay safe when returning home after a natural disaster Vibrio vulnificus, another bacteria, can be contracted the same way. Many people become infected by consuming undercooked shellfish or exposing an injury to brackish or salt water. Other illnesses  People affected by flooded areas can also get trench foot. It occurs when your feet are wet for long periods of time. It can cause pain, swelling and numbness. >> Read more trending news  You should also be aware of chemical hazards from materials that may have spilled into the water. And be cautious of electrical hazards, since there are puddles that may be electrified due to fallen power lines. Curious about other diseases you can catch? Take a look at the full list at CDC’s official website. 
  • A Tennessee truck driver is being hailed as a hero after he rescued 64 shelter dogs and cats ahead of Hurricane Florence. >> On WSOCTV.com: Florence’s aftermath: The latest news from the Carolinas According to the Greenvale News, Tony Alsup, 51, from Greenback, Tennessee, drove a school bus to South Carolina last week as the deadly storm strengthened in the Atlantic. Once there, he stopped in Orangeburg, Georgetown, Dillon and North Myrtle Beach, picking up 53 dogs and 11 cats from area animal shelters. >> Read more trending news  “It’s so easy for people to adopt the small pets and the cuties and the cuddly,” Alsup, of Tony's Emergency Animal Rescue and Shelter, told the Greenvale News. “We take on the ones that deserve a chance even though they are big and a little ugly. But I love big dogs, and we find places for them.” Related: Hurricane Florence: Coast Guard rescues beagles by boatful in floodwater He drove them to a shelter in Foley, Alabama, which will distribute the animals to other shelters across the nation, the newspaper reported.  Saint Frances Animal Center in Georgetown praised Alsup in a Facebook post Tuesday. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  'It's all true,' the post said of Alsup, who also has saved animals from hurricane-hit Puerto Rico, Texas and Florida. 'Tony swooped in at 4 a.m. Wednesday morning to pick up our 'leftovers' – the dogs with blocky heads, the ones with heartworm. The ones no one else will ever take. And he got them to safety. Not the most conventional evacuation, but surely the one with the most heart.' >> See the post here Read more here.
  • Officials on Monday morning recovered the body of a 1-year-old boy who was swept away by floodwaters during the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. >> Read more trending news  Update 10:30 a.m. EDT Sept. 17: Sheriff’s deputies in Union County confirmed in a Facebook post Monday morning that searchers had found the body of Kaiden Lee-Welch. “Our thoughts and prayers (are with) the little boy’s family and all the search team members and law enforcement officers who helped in this matter,” deputies said. “Very sad situation.” >> Watch the news report here Original report: According to WSOC-TV, emergency personnel in Union County, North Carolina, responded Sunday night to a vehicle trapped in flooded water on Highway 218 at Richardson Creek near New Salem. An adult was rescued and taken to a hospital, but a child was missing, officials said. >> On WSOCTV.com: Tracking Florence: Live updates from the Carolinas The Union County Sheriff's Office identified the child as Kaiden Lee Welch in a Facebook post Monday morning. >> See the Facebook post here 'Detectives believe the child and his mother were traveling east on N.C. 218 going toward Wadesboro,' the post said. 'The mother drove around the barricades on N.C. 218 and continued traveling east until her vehicle encountered rushing water flowing across the road. Her vehicle left the roadway and came to rest amongst a group of trees. She managed to free herself and Kaiden, who was in a car seat, but lost her grip on him in the rushing water.' The post said search and rescue teams looked for Kaiden for several hours Sunday night but were unable to find him.
  • They were in the right place at the right time.  >> Watch the news report here >> On WSOCTV.com: Tracking Florence: Live updates from the Carolinas Reporter Chris Jose and photojournalist Brandon Bryant with Atlanta's WSB-TV, which is owned by Cox Media Group, have been in South Carolina covering what is now tropical depression Florence. The two are making their way to Fayetteville, North Carolina, to cover the flooding and damage left by the storm there.  >> On WSBTV.com: 3-month-old the latest death due to Florence. Here's what we know about the victims They were driving up Interstate 95 when they found the roadway flooded over around Latta, South Carolina.  Jose said they decided to take some of the back country roads to get around the flooding when they ran across a woman who was stuck inside her car, with floodwater rapidly rising up around it.  >> On WSBTV.com: Convoy of Care: Here's how you can help Hurricane Florence victims The two said the woman was yelling, 'Help me! Help me!” The area was under a tornado warning, adding to the already dangerous situation.  Knowing they had to do something, Jose said he drove their SUV as far as they could into the water without getting stuck and Bryant, wearing a pair of waders, got out into the water, which was about waist-deep. When Bryant got to the woman’s car, he found Barbara Flanagan inside, praying.  'It just pulled me in and I couldn’t stop it. I had my foot on the brake, but it wouldn’t stop,' Flanagan said.  >> On WSOCTV.com: Looters clean out Family Dollar amid storm damage Bryant said he told Flanagan he was going to open the door and that water was going to come flooding in, be she was going to be alright.  He got the door open and was able to grab the woman and help her out her car.  'I couldn't leave you out there,' Bryant told the woman. “My heart wouldn’t allow me.” >> On WSBTV.com: Disaster relief organization offering help as Florence moves through As they made their way through the floodwaters, Flanagan told Bryant she was from Georgia and was a worker with the USDA, who was responding to the area for storm relief.  She said some of her coworkers had taken the same route shortly before her and the road was clear.  >> Read more trending news  'Looks can be deceiving,' Flanagan told Jose. 'Don’t go through the water.' A man in a pickup truck pulled up behind the WSB-TV crew’s SUV and offered to help get the woman’s car out of the floodwater. The woman’s car was still able to run, despite the high water.