Governor Nathan Deal has expanded his state of emergency declaration to nine additional counties in south Georgia in the wake of the strong thunderstorms and tornadoes that ripped across the area this weekend.
The declaration now includes the following 16 counties: Atkinson, Baker, Berrien, Brooks, Calhoun, Clay, Colquitt, Cook, Crisp, Dougherty, Lowndes, Mitchell, Thomas, Turner, Wilcox and Worth.
In a press conference Monday afternoon, Deal stressed the state was making all its emergency management resources available to communities affected by the storms.


"Our thoughts and prayers  are going to be with the families of those who have lost loved ones and family members as well as those who are injured and in the process hopefully of recovering," Deal told reporters.

Deal said he'd spoken with President Trump about the situation by phone and felt confident Georgia will receive federal emergency assistance. The governor also confirmed reports that the storms had killed 15 people.

In the meantime, Georgia’s emergency management agency continues to assess the extent of the damage across the region.


“Our folks are going to be down there doing assessments throughout the next possibly several weeks,” said Catherine Howden with the Georgia Emergency Management Homeland Security Agency. “But we are hearing and seeing images of extensive damage in various areas.”
Howden says her agency spent Monday focused on search and recovery efforts and maintaining public safety.
The governor announced plans to visit the affected areas on Wednesday. You can read his full executive order on the disaster declaration here.