System spawns over two dozen twisters in Alabama, Georgia - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

6 dead in Baker County; So. Ga. gets 5 tornadoes since midnight

System spawns over two dozen twisters in Alabama, Georgia

Toppled pine tree in Sumter Co. Toppled pine tree in Sumter Co.
A transformer knocked off a power pole. A transformer knocked off a power pole.
Loading patients for transport from Americus Loading patients for transport from Americus
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March 2, 2007

South Georgia --  Officials say a system of powerful storms packing tornadoes passed from Alabama into southwest Georgia Thursday night, hitting a hospital and causing at least nine deaths. The GSP confirms that six people died in Baker County.

Buzz Weiss of the Georgia Emergency Management Center said the main hospital in Sumter County was damaged by the storm and there were two fatalities and an undetermined number of injuries.

There are shelters open at the Americus 1st Baptist Church and the Sumter Fairgrounds.

Weiss says it appeears that a tornado hit Sumter Regional Medical Center in Americus, but officials were unsure whether the injured and the dead were inside the building at the time.

Sumter County deputy sheriff Eric Brown said he could not confirm the fatalities but that the storms had knocked out power to the entire city and part of the rest of the county. He said there are injuries but he does not know how many. He said the hospital remains in operation.

Weiss says that farther north in Taylor County, there was one death reported and four injuries. But there are no details on exactly how the injuries occurred -- just that they were storm-related.

Weiss said between 40 and 60 homes were damaged in Clay County, south of Columbus along the Chattahoochee River on the Alabama line.

In Columbus, the National Weather Service said a twister struck about 6 p-m. The storm knocked out power to 15-thousand homes in Columbus and another 32-hundred across the Chattahoochee River in Phenix City, Alabama. It also damaged buildings -- including an Eckerds Drug Store -- and toppled trees.