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Storms Hit Georgia on Heels of Deadly Mississippi Tornado

Storm systems brought “thunderstorms, high-velocity straight-line winds and multiple tornadoes." It came after tornadoes took more than two dozen lives in Mississippi and Alabama.

Deep South Severe Weather
Director of Emergency Operations for St. James Parish Blaise Gravois talks on the phone at Sugar Hill RV Park following a storm in Convent, La., Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2016. Tornadoes and severe weather ripped through the Gulf Coast on Tuesday, mangling trailers at an RV park and ripping off roofs from buildings in Louisiana and Mississippi, authorities said. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
(TNS) - Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on Sunday declared a state of emergency as severe storms, including a tornado, raked the state.

Storm systems brought “thunderstorms, high-velocity straight-line winds and multiple tornadoes” to the Peach State, Kemp said in his declaration.

It came after tornadoes that took more than two dozen lives in Mississippi and Alabama.

“As we continue to monitor the weather and work with local partners to address damage throughout the day, I ask all Georgians to join us in praying for those impacted,” Kemp stated.

The National Weather Service in Atlanta issued severe thunderstorm warnings Sunday evening for LaGrange, West Point and Pine Mountain, about 80 miles southwest of the state capital.

The NWS predicted 2 to 4 more inches of rain falling in the region from Tuscaloosa to Birmingham to Atlanta, calling the conditions a “recipe for flash flooding.”

Earlier Sunday, a “large and extremely dangerous tornado” hit near LaGrange, injuring three people, officials told CNN.

“It was awful … a lot of homes were destroyed,” LaGrange Mayor-elect Willie Edmondson told WSB-TV.

Up to 100 homes were damaged, including 30 to 40 that were “completely destroyed,” Troup County Emergency Management Director Zachary Steele was quoted as saying by CNN.

In West Point, Ga., “numerous houses collapsed,” the nonprofit Georgia Mutual Aid Society said on Facebook, with “people trapped.” Five people were injured.

The storms also let loose two tigers that escaped from their Wild Animal Safari enclosures in Pine Mountain in the wake of tornado damage.

“Both have now been found, tranquilized and safely returned to a secure enclosure,” the park said in a statement, adding that no employees or animals had been hurt.

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