ATLANTA - Gov. Brian Kemp signed a new executive order on Monday morning declaring a statewide "State of Emergency for Storm Damage" after deadly storms and tornadoes hit Georgia overnight.
The order, signed at 8:30 a.m., creates a "coexisting state of emergency" with the existing "Public Health State of Emergency" that was already in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.
We are praying for those who lost loved ones overnight and the families dealing with severe storm damage. In coordination with private-sector partners, multiple state agencies - including the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency, Department of Public Safety, Department of Natural Resources, Department of Transportation, and Georgia Forestry Commission - are working hard to restore power, clear debris, and provide necessary assistance to families across the state," Kemp said in a statement. "This morning, I also spoke with FEMA Administrator Pete Gaynor, and I greatly appreciate his offer of federal assistance as we work to rebuild and recover from these storms."
The governor's action follows what was a deadly night across the state. At least seven people have been killed and nearly 50 injured, the governor said Monday afternoon.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp heads to survey the recent storm damage.
"Due to extensive damage, Georgia's network of roads and bridges may be impassible, isolating residences and persons from access to essential public services; and assistance from the State is necessary to provide for the public's safety, protect private property, and restore the social and economic welfare of the affected counties," the order reads.
A man was killed after strong storms brought a tree down onto the back of his house overnight in Catersville, officials told FOX 5 (Source; Natalie Fultz/FOX 5 Atlanta).
In total, there were 40 tornado warnings issued across Georgia, officials said.
According to Murray County Fire Chief Dewayne Bain, the damage in his area was focused around two mobile home parks in the Ridgeview Circle and Ridgeview Lane area.
Paramedics transported at least 23 people to the hospital and numerous others suffered minor injuries. Officials said four people remain unaccounted for.
The storm also took a life in Cartersville, where officials said a 34-year-old man died after a large tree fell into the back side of his house on Fite Street.
Eleven people were killed in Mississippi. Two other bodies were pulled from damaged homes in Arkansas and South Carolina.
Before signing the declaration, Kemp offered his condolences to those impacted by the severe storms.
"This morning, several communities are grappling with serious storm damage, and I ask everyone to lift them up in prayer. Our hearts go out to the loved ones and friends of those we lost," the governor tweeted.
A large tree completely blocks the roadway after severe storms came through Floyd County April 13, 2020 (Source: Billy Heath/FOX 5 Atlanta).
More than 750,000 people across the county and over 177,000 across Georgia were left wthout power, according to poweroutages.us and Georgia Power's outage map. Restoration times varied across areas.
You can read the entire state of emergency declaration below:
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.