The Latest: State of emergency declared in Virginia county


WAVERLY, Va. (AP) — The Latest on a deadly storm system that spawned tornadoes along the Gulf Coast and damage along the East Coast (all times local):

8:30 a.m.

A Virginia County is declaring a state of emergency after a storm passed through, damaging scores of buildings, injuring several people and killing one man.

Appomattox County Administrator Susan Adams said by phone Thursday morning that about 100 structures were damaged. She says about 20 of those were severely damaged, including some that were flattened. She says those numbers may go up as damage is assessed around the county.

Adams says the governor has been informed of the extent of the damage and may visit the area Thursday.

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8:30 a.m.

The National Weather Service says at least eight tornadoes hit Tuesday in Louisiana, where two people were killed.

That eight tornadoes include four EF-2 tornadoes that were responsible for the major damage in Convent and LaPlace, along with an EF-2 in Livingston Parish and one in Paincourtville (PAN’-koor-vil).

Meteorologist Fred Zeigler tells The Associated Press the tornado that destroyed a Convent trailer park and killed two people was an EF-2 tornado, with winds of 111-135 mph. Other EF-2 tornadoes were confirmed in Livingston, Paintcourtville, and the one in LaPlace, which destroyed or badly damaged at least 200 homes in several subdivisions.

The four other tornadoes were an EF-0, with winds of 65-85 mph. They were in Lacombe, Kenner, Montpelier (mon-PEEL’-yay), and Prairieville.

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8:30 a.m.

Some local and state roads have been closed in Vermont due to flooding from heavy rain and melting snow.

The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for most of the state until about 9 a.m. Thursday.

Among the affected roads are Route 15 in Hardwick, where several homes were evacuated; Route 105 from Enosburg to Berkshire; and Route 2 in the area of Old Settlement Farm in Middlesex.

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7:35 a.m.

Officials in South Carolina say a man died when he was hit by a tree as he was picking up debris from the storms that moved across the Carolinas on Wednesday afternoon.

Darlington County Corner Todd Hardee said in a statement that 58-year-old Michael Gaines Sr. of Darlington had stopped on a road near his home to remove debris from the road when a pine tree fell on him.

Hardee says the death is being investigated by his office and the sheriff’s office.

Sheriff Wayne Byrd said the victim was being a good Samaritan when he was killed.

No other deaths have been reported in the Carolinas from the strong storms.

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7 a.m.

The Virginia National Guard has alerted soldiers to go on state active duty to provide assistance after storms ripped through the state, spawning at least one tornado, injuring dozens and killing four people.

The Guard said in a statement that it expects to have more than 50 soldiers on duty early Thursday. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency in response to the storm.

Brig. Gen. Paul F. Griffin, director of the Virginia National Guard joint staff, says the initial plan is to provide support for Essex, Richmond, Westmoreland, Sussex and Patrick counties.

Officials say soldiers will work in debris reduction teams. They’ll be equipped with chain saws and Humvees to help local emergency responders clear fallen trees and other debris. A rotary wing aviation support will be on standby to provide aerial damage assessment if needed.

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4:22 a.m.

Storm systems have brought severe weather to the East Coast and the Midwest.

Tornadoes killed four people and left a path of destruction in Virginia, the hardest-hit state. Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller says a 2-year-old child and two men, ages 50 and 26, were killed in the town of Waverly during the storm.

Police say a funnel cloud left an 8- to 10-mile path of destruction in In Appomattox County, Virginia, where one man was killed.

A powerful storm also brought heavy snow and biting winds to the Midwest, leading to mass flight cancellations at Chicago airports and school closings in several states.

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