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At least 8 killed, dozens injured in tornadoes, many in Virginia

By Shawn Price and Amy R. Connolly
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At least 8 killed, dozens injured in tornadoes, many in Virginia
At least two people were killed in a mobile home park in Convent, La., about 50 miles west of New Orleans, when a tornado ripped through the area. The strong storm system is to blame for at least five other deaths along the East Coast, most in Virginia. Photo courtesy of Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

ALEXANDRIA, Va., Feb. 25 (UPI) -- The National Weather Service is predicting strong storms in a wide swath from New York to Florida on Thursday from a system that has killed at least eight and injured more than two dozen, most in Virginia.

Meteorologists expect tornadoes, damaging wind gusts and hail Thursday over parts of the mid-Atlantic, along with heavy rainfall that could bring flooding from Maryland to southwest Maine. The storm is blamed for at least five deaths on Wednesday. At least four of the fatalities were reported in Virginia, including a 2-year-old boy, a 50-year-old man and a 26-year-old man. In South Carolina, a 58-year-old man, Michael Gaines, Sr., was reported dead after being struck by a falling tree.

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Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency. In Waverly, southeast of Richmond, a curfew was imposed after a tornado tore through the town, leaving roads impassable and a 2-year-old boy among the dead. Five tornadoes were reported in North Carolina, and another may have touched down in Lancaster County, Pa.

Among the damages in Pennsylvania, were two 600-foot chicken houses holding some 16,000 chickens, two large barns and a greenhouse. In New York, a tractor-trailer overturned on the George Washington Bridge from strong winds. Some 209,000 people were without power in and around Washington, D.C.

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The same storm system killed several people in Louisiana and Mississippi the day before. At least two were killed in mobile home park in Convent, La., about 50 miles west of New Orleans. One was killed in a Lamar County, Miss., mobile home. About 30 people were taken to hospitals, some critically injured.

"I ask all Louisianans to pray for the victims of the terrible storms that touched down in Louisiana today and especially at the Sugar Hill RV Park in Convent," Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said after visiting the area. "And let us not forget their families and the first responders working so tirelessly tonight to save lives. We will do all that we can to help restore the families, businesses and communities destroyed by this tragedy."

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