Gov. Nathan Deal will ask for federal assistance for South Georgia storm victims after FEMA has finished its investigation.
It’s likely he will act on the request soon, chief of staff Chris Riley said, as the longer it takes to get federal assistance, the greater the impact on the state budget.
Deal made the announcement at a news conference Monday afternoon, one day after storms killed at least 15 people in South Georgia and four more across the Deep South.
Officials searched Monday for five others reported missing in the storm damage and eventually found four of them.
The National Weather Service confirmed Monday evening that an EF-2 tornado hit parts of Albany. A survey team concluded the tornado path was a half-mile wide with at least 111- to 135-mph winds.
Earlier Monday, Deal issued a state of emergency for nine more counties — up from the seven affected counties Sunday. Deal also extended the executive order to run through midnight Jan. 30.
RELATED: Deal declares state of emergency
RELATED: A look at the victims
Deal said he plans to visit the storm-ravaged area Wednesday, waiting to allow search and rescue efforts to continue.
Seven people died at a mobile home park in Adel, Cook County Coroner Tim Purvis told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Four people were killed in the EF-2 tornado that struck east Albany on Sunday afternoon, Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler said. And Berrien and Brooks counties each reported two deaths, officials told The AJC.
Assistance can’t come quick enough in Dougherty County.
"It's overwhelming to know what these people have gone through,” she said. "You have to put a shell around yourself to do the job and help them."
The chair of the county’s Board of Commissioners called out the federal government Monday morning.
"We need help,” Christopher S. Cohilas said during a news conference. “FEMA, please get people on the damn ground.
"We don't have enough resources. We need everything our country can give us."
President Donald Trump on Sunday called Gov. Deal to offer condolences and pledged his support.
“We’ll be helping out the state of Georgia,” he said.
Of the extraordinary destruction in Albany, Cohilas said: "It literally looks like God took half of the mobile home park and threw it across the universe."
State officials reported Monday that at least 250 people were working on disaster relief.
Georgia Department of Public Safety Commissioner Mark McDonough said more than 85 state officers are assisting with search efforts.
The Georgia Department of Transportation also reported road closures in the area have decreased from 30 to six, with four roads affected by downed power lines. Roughly 200 employees are assisting with search and rescue efforts, GDOT Commissioner Russell McMurry said.
Seventeen state parks are providing shelter to disaster victims, Georgia Department of Natural Resources spokesman Lt. Col. Jeff Weaver said.
From early Saturday to Sunday night, 39 possible tornadoes were reported across the Southeast, Patrick Marsh of the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., told The AP. Of that number, 30 were reported in Georgia.
Georgia averages 20 tornadoes a year.
Georgia counties under state of emergency:
RELATED: At least 4 dead in Dougherty County
In Adel, storms demolished half of the 40 homes at the mobile home park where seven were killed, authorities said. Five women and two men between the ages of 18 and 65 were reportedly killed, according to the Associated Press.
Cook County officials said Monday night that they are no longer looking for survivors. They reported 23 additional injuries in the county.
Emergency Management Dirercor in Cook County Lamar Ray said homeowners can return to their home Tuesday if it is safe. About 45 homes are reported damaged and 36 of them are mobile homes, the Associated Press reported.
Torn wreckage bore no resemblance to the homes they once were. Cadaver dogs and a continuing stream of utility trucks and lumber trucks rolled into and out of the mobile home park.
POWER OUTAGES IN GEORGIA:
More than 1, 758 Georgia Power customers statewide were without service at 10:15 p.m. Monday. Georgia EMC reported more than 7, 400 customers were without power at 10:30 p.m., down from a peak of 45,000 Sunday night.
“Crews are having a difficult time getting to areas,” said Terri Statham, Georgia EMC spokeswoman. “Their time has been spent moving debris, which has slowed restoration efforts.”
Statham expects power to be fully restored in a few more days.
Gordon County Schools were closed Monday because of downed trees and power lines, Channel 2 reported.
Families seeking information about missing individuals were urged to contact the Adel First Assembly of God at 229-896-3935 or 229-561-2875 or the First Baptist Church of Adel at 229-561-1201.
Red Cross shelters were set up at those locations as well as the Albany Civic Center and the Turner County Civic Center.
Other killer storms in recent years:
» March 27, 1994: 18 were killed on Palm Sunday in the Floyd County area.
» March 20, 1998: 14 were killed in Hall and White counties.
» April 8, 1998: Seven were killed in and around Dunwoody, and in Cobb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties.
» Feb. 14, 2000: 19 were killed in southwest Georgia/Mitchell County, Grady County and Colquitt County.
» March 20, 2003: Six were killed in southwest Georgia.
» March 1, 2007: Six were killed in Newton.
» March 14, 2008: One was killed in Atlanta.
» April 27, 2011: Ringgold and Cedartown reported 15 deaths.
» Jan 2013: One was killed in Adairsvile.
Today: Showers. High: 58
Tonight: Mostly cloudy. Low: 50
Tomorrow: Mostly sunny. High: 61
» For a detailed forecast, visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution weather page.
Parts of metro Atlanta saw strong wind damage following a wind advisory issued by The National Weather Service for metro Atlanta and other parts of North Georgia. The advisory, which lasted through 7 p.m. Monday, means wind gusts up to 40 mph are possible.
Wind damage was reported near Piedmont Park in Midtown.
Skies are expected to clear by 10 p.m. with temps entering the mid-40s, according to Channel 2 Chief Meteorologist Glenn Burns. Expect cooler temps by 7 a.m. Tuesday, but highs in the 60s by the afternoon.
There is a 40 percent chance of rain Thursday after a cold front comes through Wednesday night.
But you won’t have to keep that umbrella out too long.
Sunshine is expected to return Friday.
Temps were 52 degrees in Atlanta, 46 in Blairsville and 54 in LaGrange at 9 p.m.
— Staff writers Ellen Eldridge, Helena Oliviero and Aaron Gould Sheinin contributed to this article.
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