State of Emergency Declared in Virginia After Severe Storm; 4 People Killed, Including 2-Year-Old Boy

Virginia State Police phone service down in Appomattox County

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has declared a state of emergency as powerful storms ripped through the state, killing three adults and a child. 

The 2-year-old boy was killed Wednesday as powerful storms ripped through Waverly, in southeastern Virginia, according to state police.

The child was in a mobile home that was destroyed in the storm. His body was found about 300 yards from the mobile home, along with the bodies of the two other victims, a 50-year-old man and a 26-year-old man, state police said. 

Another man was killed in Appomattox County. He was declared missing after his home in Evergreen was destroyed. His remains later were found in the home, state police said in an update late Wednesday.

The Virginia National Guard said in a statement that it expects to have more than 50 soldiers on duty early Thursday. Brig. Gen. Paul F. Griffin, director of the Virginia National Guard joint staff, says the initial plan is to provide support for Essex, Richmond, Westmoreland, Sussex and Patrick counties.

Officials say soldiers will work in debris reduction teams. They'll be equipped with chain saws and Humvees to help local emergency responders clear fallen trees and other debris. A rotary wing aviation support will be on standby to provide aerial damage assessment if needed.

A reported funnel cloud left an 8 to 10-mile path of destruction in Appomattox County. Seven people were hurt, multiple buildings were damaged and many residents are without power. State police in the county were unable to receive emergency calls due to storm damage to infrastructure. 

In Waverly, eight people were injured by the storm that left a 3-mile path of destruction, NBC12 WWBT in Richmond reported. Residents reported seeing a funnel cloud. 

In Essex County, 25 injuries were reported, ranging from minor to serious, and at least 30 buildings were damaged.

McAuliffe said state emergency officials are closely monitoring storms that continue to lash parts of the state. The emergency declaration Wednesday evening enables state agencies to devote resources to storm response and recovery. 

Debris from the storm made roads in the area impassable, and there are reports of flooding. State police advised delaying travel in the area.

The National Weather Service had issued a tornado warning for an area in southeastern Virginia, with radar indicating a twister in Waverly.

Three people were killed in Louisiana and Mississippi when tornadoes hit there Tuesday. Dozens of other people were injured.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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