The death toll from the severe thunderstorms and tornadoes that damaged homes and businesses across the United States over the past two days now stands at eight, officials said.
The National Weather Service received 68 reports of tornadoes in the Gulf Coast and Southeast on Tuesday and Wednesday, along with about 500 reports of wind damage from Florida to Maine. The reports mentioned damages to homes and businesses, indicating some were destroyed, as well as numerous downed trees and power lines throughout the storm area.
Tornadoes were reported in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida on Tuesday, and Florida, Virginia and North Carolina on Wednesday. It’s possible that some of those storm reports reference the same funnel cloud, as there are numerous counties listed multiple times.
Officials said severe weather killed five people Wednesday, four in Virginia and one in South Carolina. They came a day after tornadoes killed two people in Louisiana and one in Mississippi.
The Virginia State Police said three people were killed in Waverly, where a funnel cloud was reportedly spotted, and “significant debris” left two state highways impassible in the area.
Officials in Appomattox County said one person was killed after a reported tornado left a trail of destruction that stretched at least eight miles. In a Facebook post, they said some 100 structures were damaged — 20 severely — and 40 percent of the county’s homes were without power.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency, joining governors in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi who issued similar decrees for the severe weather.
McAuliffe’s office said the governor was heading out to survey the damage on Thursday.
The National Weather Service’s reports indicate multiple houses were destroyed near Richmond, Virginia, and five houses were damaged near Granville, North Carolina, a snippet of the storm’s impact.
The reports also say winds toppled trees and power lines in areas where tornadoes weren’t seen.
In South Carolina, the Darlington County Coroner’s Office said a 58-year-old man was killed by a falling tree as he tried to remove storm debris from a road near his home.
Those downed trees and limbs helped knock out power to tens of thousands of people along the East Coast, some of whom were still without electricity on Thursday morning.
That included about 45,000 customers in Connecticut, local utility company Eversource said.