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Twisters, floods damage south

Tornadoes and severe weather killed two people and damaged homes in South Carolina while Georgia reported more flood damage Tuesday.

BY SUSAN KIM | BALTIMORE | September 28, 2004

Tornadoes and severe weather killed two people and damaged homes in South Carolina while several states reported more flood damage in the wake of a foot of rain Tuesday.

Jeanne's remnants were the culprit as the storm continued its northward crawl, moving into Virginia after hitting Georgia and the Carolinas. By Tuesday night, heavy rain had extended through the Appalachians and mid-Atlantic states.

Tornado damage was found in Ridgeway, S.C., where five homes were destroyed, said Fairfield County emergency management.

Tornadoes also caused localized damage in central North Carolina. North Carolina, this hurricane season, looks like an “alphabet soup” of damage – the state was affected by Alex, Bonnie, Charley, Gaston, Frances, Ivan and now Jeanne. In the community of Southern Pines, more than 100 homes were damaged. And in western North Carolina – hard hit by floods from both Ivan and Frances, another 3 to 5 inches of rain fell.

Parts of the mid-Atlantic could see four inches of rain on Tuesday, forecasters said.

Thousands of people were still without power in Georgia on Tuesday, and emergency management officials in that state said Jeanne’s damages were worse than the wake of Frances. Flood damage was significant in Charlton County, according to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency.

Meanwhile, Florida relief trudged on, with more than 21,000 people still in shelters on Tuesday.

At least six people are dead and some 1 million without power in Florida after Jeanne made landfall Saturday night and traveled a path strikingly similar to Hurricane Frances, which hit Sept. 5.

"It's like a rerun of Hurricane Frances as many of the same areas were hit for the second and in some cases the third time," described Kevin Smith, state disaster services director for The Salvation Army. "We've already heard stories of people who were so glad that they were spared during Hurricane Frances only to return to their homes this time to find nothing left."

Jeanne was a Category 3 hurricane when it made landfall at Hutchinson Island, 35 miles north of West Palm Beach.

Jim Stratton, a Vero Beach resident and writer for the Orlando Sentinel newspaper, described what is was like to watch damages to the power grid unfold.

"Every few minutes, a cloud of neon blue light erupted over the city before dissolving into black. Officials said the fireworks were transformers blowing, as the storm battered power lines," he wrote.

Palm Beach County and St. Lucie County were hardest hit by Jeanne, but many counties reported losing a lot of structures - homes and businesses alike - when Jeanne hit because structures had been weakened by Frances.

In the Florida Panhandle, some 64,000 customers in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties remained without power from Hurricane Ivan, which struck Sept. 16. Some people could be without power for three weeks, according to FEMA reports.

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