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Thursday, January 31, 2013 - 1:22am

2 Dead, N. Ga. Digs Out After Storms

Kandi Cash walked through the debris of her grandparents' demolished house in north Georgia Wednesday, hoping to salvage family keepsakes after violent storms raked the Southeast, leaving two dead.

The house was one of many in the Georgia city of Adairsville splintered by a massive storm front that tore across several states, unleashing tornadoes and dangerous winds that flipped cars and destroyed homes and businesses.

Georgia Fire Safety and Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens plans to fly over tornado-damaged areas in northwest Georgia Thursday.

Meanwhile, Georgia Power said 9,600 customers remained without power early Thursday morning, with 2,500 of them in hard-hit northwest Georgia. By 5 a.m. Thursday, Georgia's electric membership cooperatives had reduced the number of its customers without power to fewer than 5,000 in north Georgia -- down from 14,000 Wednesday.

Authorities said falling trees claimed two lives: a man killed in Tennessee while taking shelter in a shed and another man crushed in his bed in Georgia.

Bartow County Coroner Joel Guyton has identified the Georgia man as 51-year-old Anthony Raines.

Guyton says Raines was lying in bed in his Adairsville mobile home when a tree crashed through the roof and crushed him.

National Weather Service meteorologist Mike Leary said early Thursday that crews will assess storm damage in Gordon County and Bartow County. He said crews will also assess damage from possible tornadoes in Floyd, Paulding and Gilmer counties before confirming how many tornadoes struck the state Wednesday.

Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency in Bartow and Gordon Counties Wednesday.

American Red Cross spokeswoman Sherry Nicholson said about 15 people stayed overnight at a shelter in Adairsville, and the Red Cross opened a second shelter in Calhoun, where another half-dozen people spent the night.

State department of transportation officials said standing water blocked lanes and entrance ramps on several highways at times on Wednesday.

The storm front sprang out of the Midwest on Tuesday and also knocked out power to thousands. There were several reports of tornadoes. Early Thursday, parts of Virginia remained under tornado watches as the storm headed toward the Atlantic.