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At least seven dead after multiple tornadoes, severe winds tear through South


(NEW YORK) — A massive storm system sweeping across the United States struck the South on Thursday with severe winds and numerous tornadoes, killing at least seven people in Alabama and Georgia.

In Alabama’s Autauga County, northwest of Montgomery, at least six people died due to the severe weather, according to the local sheriff’s office. “Multiple” other people were hospitalized and about 40 to 50 homes were either damaged or destroyed, the county emergency management agency told ABC News.

In Georgia’s Butts County, southeast of Atlanta, at least one person — a child — died when a tree fell on a vehicle, the local coroner told ABC News.

Meanwhile, at least 23 tornadoes were reported across Alabama on Thursday. More twisters were expected as a line of severe storms moved through Georgia and the Carolinas on Thursday night.

One of the tornadoes delivered “significant damage” to Alabama’s historic city of Selma, according to the mayor’s office.

The National Weather Service confirmed a “large and extremely dangerous” tornado struck Selma on Thursday at 12:20 p.m. local time.

Most of Selma’s streets are closed due to downed power lines and trees, according to the mayor’s office.

All Selma students are reported to be safe and at their schools, the office added.

The city, a famous focal point of the civil rights movement, is located in central Alabama and has a population of about 17,000.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency for six counties — including Dallas County, which encompasses Selma, and Autauga County — “that were in the path of Mother Nature’s wrath,” the governor tweeted Thursday evening.

Ivey said she will be monitoring the severe weather system “to determine if an expanded state of emergency is needed.”

ABC News’ Matt Foster and Melissa Griffin contributed to this report.

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