Gov. Brian Kemp prepares to set off by helicopter to Talbot County to survey storm damage. Bob Andres / bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com
Photo: Bob Andres/bandres@ajc.com

Georgia governor declares disaster in 3 counties hit by tornadoes 

Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency in three southwest Georgia counties slammed by a violent storm system that spawned deadly tornadoes

The emergency declaration covers Grady, Harris and Talbot counties, but more could be added as emergency officials assess the damage. Kemp said the state would take “swift action” to deploy state resources. 

“This declaration immediately dispatches additional first responders and assistance as we continue to assess the damage,” he said. 

 

The storms killed at least 23 people in eastern Alabama and left a widespread trail of damage and destruction that also injured more than 40 people across Alabama, Georgia and Florida.

The governor said the storms destroyed about two dozen homes in west Georgia and damaged about 40 others, along with wrecking several businesses. About 3,000 power outages were reported by mid-morning. 

“We certainly dodged a bullet and we are thankful for that,” Kemp said. “It doesn’t look like it will rise to the level of a federal disaster, but we’re monitoring.”

Kemp set off Monday by helicopter to assess the damage with state officials and state Rep. Debbie Buckner, whose district includes hard-hit Talbotton. Shortly after the visit, he spoke with President Donald Trump by phone.

In a series of tweets, he said Trump offered “full support” for Georgians hobbled by the weekend storms as well as farmers still waiting for federal emergency relief after Hurricane Michael.


 

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