The Latest: South Carolina man dies when tree falls on him

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):

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.


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.


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.