News and Commentary

At Least 26 Dead After Storms Sweep South On Easter
Sylvia Salley, right, and Evelyn Wise looks over what remains of a storm damaged home April 13, 2020 in Livingston, South Carolina. A string of storms caused more than a dozen deaths across the southern United States.
Sean Rayford/Getty Images

For states across the South, Easter Sunday brought massive storms that lead to the deaths of at least 26 people at the time of this writing.

The New York Post reported that “storms caused flooding, mudslides and power outages across 10 states, from Georgia to West Virginia and as far west as Texas.” In Chattanooga, Tennessee, fire departments received at least 300 emergency calls due to the damage caused by the storms, and a local fire department reported that 14 people were hospitalized. The Weather Channel added that at least 20 people across the state had been hospitalized and “more than 150 structures were damaged or destroyed in Hamilton County, which surrounds Chattanooga, Tennessee.”

More from the Weather Channel:

Hamilton County Emergency Management Communications Director Amy Maxwell told the Chattanooga Times Free Press more than 500 first responders were conducting a “grid search” of the hardest-hit areas.

“We’re still in the rescue mode and that ‘s pretty much going through the area which was affected, going door to door to make sure that we got everyone accounted for,” Maxwell said. “Obviously, there’s significant damage in East Brainerd and East Ridge, but the total destruction is in East Ridge.”

The Weather Channel also reported that “65 residents of an Alzheimer’s living facility were moved to a nearby hotel after the buildings there were damaged in the storm, according to The Weather Channel’s Dave Malkoff, who was reporting from the scene. Malkoff pointed out where parts of the roof were ripped off.”

The mayor of Clarksdale, Mississippi, Chuck Espy, reportedly told the media that power lines were knocked over and trees were blown into homes by strong gusts of wind.

“I know these are some tough times and I’m just asking everyone to stay prayed up,” Espy said.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves ended up declaring a state of emergency after tornadoes appeared across the state. Eleven people died as of Monday morning, the Post reported.

“This is not how anyone wants to celebrate Easter,” Reeves said on Twitter. “As we reflect on the death and resurrection on this Easter Sunday, we have faith that we will all rise together.”

One of those who died in Mississippi was Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Ainsworth and his wife, Paula. Robert reportedly shielded his wife in an attempt to save her during the storm.

Georgia’s WAGA-TV reported that Murray County Fire Chief Dewayne Bain said the storms had killed at least five people in Chatsworth and that two mobile home parks had been practically blown away. Those who died were reportedly from three different homes and were all adults. At least 23 people were taken to the hospital and four people are still missing.

A sixth person died in Cartersville, Georgia, after a large tree crushed the back side of his house.

The Weather Channel reported that the death count totaled 26 by Monday morning and that more than “1.2 million homes and businesses were without power.”

Another person was killed in Seneca, South Carolina. The Weather Channel also reported that planes “were flipped and hangars damaged at the Lowcountry Regional Airport in Walterboro.”