Transcript for At least 7 dead as storms batter South
that you described. Our nation, they are already in the fight against covid-19. Coronavirus fears colliding with a tornado emergency overnight for millions. Severe storms battering the south. Victor Oquendo is in Monroe, Louisiana with the major tornado that devastated that city. Good morning, Victor. Reporter: Good morning, Michael. Monroe was one of the first cities to take the brunt of these storms. Derek: Tornados picking up these two cars, smashing them right into this home and you can see what's now left of that kitchen. Neighbors tell us they had to go inside and rescue the homeowners. They would survive, but as these storms moved on, many others would not. We just got another trapped call. Apparently a tree went in a house. There's supposed to be four kids inside the house. They can't get out. Reporter: Overnight, Tennessee the latest state plagued with severe storms, resulting in five deaths and several more injured with Chattanooga one of the largest cities hit by the tornado and heavy downpours. Our affiliate station showing us this devastated home. It took our roof off. That tree almost went through our house but by the grace of god did not. Reporter: Cars left with shattered windshields. The front of this warehouse at least 13 people are dead and more than 800,000 households are without power after violent storms bearing powerful tornados and torrential rain ripped through the southeaster Sunday. Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi all declaring a state of emergency. Oh geeze. Watch it! Yep, I see it, I see it. I'm watching it. Reporter: In Mississippi winds peaking at 170 to 205 miles per hour, leaving a scene of destruction. At least seven of the fatalities coming from this state alone. My wife was scared and I kept telling her it's going to be okay. Lord Jesus, my poor house gone, Mon. It's gone. Reporter: Louisiana's city of Monroe one of the hardest hit. We had to rescue two ladies. I heard this really loud bang but I didn't expect this type of destruction when I came outside. Reporter: The mayor hesitant to designate shelters for the misplaced in the wake of a global pandemic. Normally we would talk about opening shelters. Right now shelters are a last resort because of the covid-19 pandemic. Reporter: The tornado taking direct aim at the regional airport with planes scattered across the field. In central Alabama, emergency crews race to rescue residents from their homes, and watch as this downed power line sets fire to the street. These storms could not come at a worse possible time. Resources are already stretched thin because of the coronavirus response, and George, we're not in the clear yet. Boy, we are not. Victor, thanks very much. Let's bring in Greg Michel, executive director of the Mississippi emergency management agency. Mr. Michel, thank you so much for joining us this morning. Our hearts are with everyone in your state right now. Just give us a sense of the damage you're finding right now and what you're doing about it. So we had about 30 counties that were affected with the storms yesterday and throughout the night last night. 11 fatalities that we know of right now. As you know, search and rescue efforts went through the night and of course will resume this morning when the sun comes up. I can't even imagine trying to do all the work you normally do in the wake of a disaster like this during a pandemic as well. How has it complicated the relief and rescue efforts? Well of course it's complicated it greatly. I mean, you know, we discussed the shelters. We had a meeting with all of our county emergency management agencies on Friday ahead of the storm. Been tracking it for about a week and just prepared and making sure they had additional ppe available should they have to open shelters. And of course this storm turned out to be as dangerous as we had planned so we did have to utilize those shelters. Yeah, and when people get those warnings, it's so hard to keep up with the social distancing guidelines required by the pandemic in shelters like that. Absolutely. Absolutely. And that's always an issue. We emphasized to everyone if they had to go into a shelter to make sure that maintain hygiene. We had extra hand sanitizer in those counties where we planned these storms to be, and then encouraged everyone to use masks. But at the end of the day, life safety had to persist over everything else, and the greater risk of the tornado had to overcome the covid. It's still a concern, but again, we've got folks that live in certain areas, rural areas where they don't have access to shelters or a home. So shelters were the only option that they had. And as Victor said, you all are just not out of the woods yet. There could be more severe weather coming. What's your plan going forward? Our plan right now is to help these counties get back on their feet as quickly as we can. April is our historically most dangerous month of the year. We've certainly -- what happened yesterday is certainly an indicator of how dangerous these storms can be, so we'll do the cleanup efforts and get ready for what we anticipate to be a very busy and active tornado month here in April. We know it will be. Sir, stay safe. Give our best to everyone down there in your state and thank you for joining us this morning. Thank you, George. Take care. Thank you, George. The tornado threat is not over and we're going to go to ginger who is tracking the latest on where that threat is now. Good morning, ginger. Good morning, Michael. Tornados are happening as we speak in South Carolina. We've got a tornado emergency but the watches stretch from Jacksonville through central Virginia. That tornado emergency included Walter borough. You had debris flying. These are deadly tornados. We've got several warnings from Georgia through northwest of so we're watching that line and as that pushes east it's not just tornados, it's damaging we're talking 60, 70 mile per hour winds that could extend up to Philadelphia. But watch this, those numbers are coming after the storm passes. I think places like New Jersey up through the cape, Long Island all could see gusts upwards of 75 miles per hour. This concerns me a lot, especially having those tents in central park for the coronavirus pandemic. Robin? All right, ginger, thank you.
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