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Heavy Storms Hit South Again

AP090326018083

MAGEE, Miss. -- Fierce thunderstorms rolled across the South on Friday for a second day, kicking up a tornado in Alabama that overturned a mobile home. Meanwhile, residents in a south Mississippi community cleaned up after a twister that injured 28 people a day earlier.

Heavy rain, high winds and possible tornadoes also toppled trees and damaged several homes in southern Louisiana during the night, according to reports received by the National Weather Service.

In Alabama, the tornado struck near the Gulf Coast about 4:30 a.m. Friday, roughing up the occupants of a mobile home toppled by winds, authorities said. Several other people reported minor injuries, said Major Anthony Lower with the Baldwin County Sheriff's Department.

The storm system was expected to continue eastward across the South during the day, making for an even more difficult cleanup in Magee. Victims of a pre-dawn tornado Thursday were still clearing debris from dozens of flattened homes and businesses.

Twenty-eight people were injured in Magee, but there were still no reports of fatalities from the storms.

As the drone of chain saws could be heard throughout the town, Magee Mayor Jimmy Clyde said he was reminded of Hurricane Katrina's wrath in 2005.

"This is like reliving Hurricane Katrina all over again and that's no fun," Clyde said Thursday as his workers dealt with downed power lines and interrupted water service. "We got hit back then and we've really been hit now."

In Louisiana, more than 9,000 utility customers had no power Friday morning as drenching rains flooded several roads in low-lying coastal areas, authorities said.

In Terrebonne Parish, southwest of New Orleans on Louisiana's coast, officials reported more than a dozen homes flooded. Five people went to a Red Cross shelter opened Friday in Houma, an emergency official said. Several streets also were flooded in and around New Orleans.

National Weather Service forecaster Tim Erickson said one person also was reported injured in Louisiana's Ascension Parish, along with a home destroyed and two others damaged. In Assumption and St. John parishes, mobile homes were damaged, one blown on its side.

Meanwhile, forecasters warned more severe weather threatened central Mississippi later Friday, including potentially heavy downpours. And Atlanta commuters slogged through a morning trek to work slowed Friday by fog and occasionally heavy rain.

Forecasters said parts of Georgia could get up to 5 inches of rainfall by Saturday.

Magee's Phillip Runnels spent the aftermath of Thursday's storm sifting through the debris of his mother's mobile home. His mother, Pamela McCallum, 48, was in good condition after being airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Her boyfriend, Larry Pearson, 58, was also injured and was in fair condition.

"She's in pretty bad shape and Mr. Larry, he's in worse shape," Runnels said.

Mississippi's governor declared a state of emergency in Magee's Simpson County. At least nine Mississippi counties reported damage Thursday.

Stephanie Malley, 35, cried as she looked at the shell of her home, its roof gone. She awoke when flying debris hit her in the back and pulled her 11- and 13-year-old sons into a bathroom for safety.

"We stayed in the bathroom for a long time until everything started coming down," Malley said.

Associated Press writers Chris Talbott in Jackson, Miss., and Kevin McGill in New Orleans contributed to this report.

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