The grandstand of a drag strip damaged by the storm that hit Adel and Cook County Georgia Saturday, Jan. 21.

The grandstand of a drag strip damaged by the storm that hit Adel and Cook County Georgia Saturday, Jan. 21. / GPB

Gov. Nathan Deal says the White House has approved federal aid for southwest Georgia residents recovering after deadly tornadoes and thunderstorms struck last weekend.

Deal said Thursday that President Donald Trump has granted assistance for six counties that suffered severe damage as waves of storms hammered the Southeast on Saturday and Sunday. Twenty people died in the region, including 15 in Georgia.

Deal said he expects the White House will later approve federal aid to 10 additional Georgia counties included in the governor's emergency declaration.

Trump's initial declaration Thursday frees up federal assistance to residents of Berrien, Cook, Crisp, Dougherty, Turner and Wilcox counties. On Wednesday, the White House also approved aid for prior storms that damaged southwest Georgia on Jan. 2.

The National Weather Service says a powerful EF3 tornado packing peak winds of 140 mph was responsible for killing 11 people in southwest Georgia.

The agency reports a survey team confirmed a large twister carved a path of destruction Sunday nearly 25 miles long — and in places nearly a half-mile wide — through Brooks, Cook and Berrien counties. Seven people died at a mobile home park in Cook County when the twister hit before dawn. The other counties counted two deaths apiece.

The Weather Service has confirmed at least 24 tornadoes touched down in Georgia during the weekend storm outbreak. At least 20 people were killed in the Southeast — 15 in Georgia, four in Mississippi and one in Florida.

Trump has declared a federal disaster in southwest Georgia for a severe storm that caused extensive damage nearly three weeks before another round of tornadoes and thunderstorms devastated the same area.

A statement the White House issued Wednesday says the declaration makes federal aid available for damage inflicted Jan. 2. Assistance for individuals is available for residents of Dougherty County, while aid for government and nonprofit response efforts has been approved for Baker, Calhoun, Early, Mitchell, Turner and Worth counties.