A tornado reportedly hit early Sunday in Troup County, Georgia, near the Alabama border, leaving homes flattened and multiple people injured and more severe weather is on the way. Affected areas included the county seat of LaGrange, around 67 miles southwest of Atlanta, according to Georgia Mutual Aid Group (GMAG).
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Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency around 11 am. A tornado warning has been issued for Baldwin, Lamar, Meriwether, Monroe Pike, Troup, and Upson counties until 1 pm. More than 20 million Southerners are at risk of severe storms on Sunday across the region.
The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center said threats include the possibility of strong tornadoes, hail the size of tennis balls and damaging wind gusts up to 70 mph.
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The Troup County Sheriff’s Office said it was receiving several reports of trees down, damage to houses, and power lines down.
Georgia residents shared photos and videos on social media of large golf-ball-sized pieces of hail failing over the area early Sunday.
In addition, the sheriff’s office also warned it received a report from the Pine Mountain Animal Safari “that they are reporting a Tiger that is unaccounted for inside the park.”
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“If you do not have to get on the roads this morning please do not travel. There is also a report that Verizon cell service is interrupted,” the agency wrote Sunday morning.
By Sunday afternoon, the storms will then move east into the Carolinas posing a threat of damaging winds. A marginal risk of severe storms also includes parts of central Illinois and Indiana.
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Fresh storms capable of producing very large tornadoes, hail, and fierce winds are expected to form across parts of eastern Texas on Sunday afternoon before pushing into Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama through the afternoon and evening.