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Heavy storms hit South again; 1 injured in La.

Armed with chainsaws and a bulldozer, Mississippi Department of Transportation workers walk along Mississippi Highway 541 on Thursday in Magee, Miss., looking for trees or limbs or wreckage that needs to be removed from the roadway following a tornado.

Armed with chainsaws and a bulldozer, Mississippi Department of Transportation workers walk along Mississippi Highway 541 on Thursday in Magee, Miss., looking for trees or limbs or wreckage that needs to be removed from the roadway following a tornado.

MAGEE, Miss. – Fierce thunderstorms rolled across the South on Friday, injuring one person in Louisiana as the severe weather kicked up a tornado in Alabama that overturned a mobile home a day after a bruising Mississippi twister.

Heavy rain, high winds and possible tornadoes toppled trees and power lines and damaged several homes in southern Louisiana late Thursday and early Friday, according to reports received by the National Weather Service.

In Alabama, authorities said a tornado hit near the Gulf Coast about 4:30 a.m. Friday but the occupants of a mobile home pushed over by high winds were not hurt seriously. Several people had minor injuries but didn’t need hospitalization, said Major Anthony Lower with the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Department.

The storm system was expected to continue lurching eastward across the South throughout the day, making for an even more difficult cleanup in Magee, where victims of a pre-dawn tornado on Thursday were still clearing debris from dozens of flattened homes and businesses.

Twenty-eight people were injured in Magee, but there were still no reports of fatalities from the storms.

As the drone of chain saws could be heard throughout the town, Magee Mayor Jimmy Clyde said he was reminded of Hurricane Katrina’s wrath in 2005.

“This is like reliving Hurricane Katrina all over again and that’s no fun,” Clyde said Thursday as his workers dealt with downed power lines and interrupted water service. “We got hit back then and we’ve really been hit now.”

In Louisiana, authorities said more than 9,000 utility customers had no power Friday morning. Flash flood warnings were issued as water lapped over sections of roads in southeastern coastal parishes and the New Orleans area.

In low-lying Terrebonne Parish, southwest of New Orleans, officials reported more than a dozen homes flooded when several inches of rain fell within two hours. Five people sought refuge at a Red Cross shelter opened Friday in Houma, La., an emergency official said.

National Weather Service forecaster Tim Erickson said one person also was reported injured in Louisiana’s Ascension Parish, along with a home destroyed and two others damaged. In Assumption and St. John parishes, mobile homes were damaged, one blown on its side.

Meanwhile, forecasters warned more severe weather threatened central Mississippi later Friday, including potentially heavy downpours and scattered flash floods. And Atlanta commuters slogged through a crawling morning trip to work in fog and bursts of heavy rain Friday as forecasters said parts of Georgia could get up to 5 inches of rain before Saturday.

Magee’s Phillip Runnels spent the aftermath of Thursday’s storm sifting through the debris of his mother’s mobile home. His mother, Pamela McCallum, 48, was in good condition after being airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Her boyfriend, Larry Pearson, 58, was also injured and was in fair condition.

“She’s in pretty bad shape and Mr. Larry, he’s in worse shape,” Runnels said.

Mississippi’s governor declared a state of emergency in Magee’s Simpson County. At least nine Mississippi counties reported damage Thursday.

Stephanie Malley, 35, cried as she looked at the shell of her home, its roof gone. She awoke when flying debris hit her in the back and pulled her 11- and 13-year-old sons into a bathroom for safety.

“We stayed in the bathroom for a long time until everything started coming down,” Malley said.

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