Cleanup underway in tornado-ravaged southeastern Virginia
Emergency crews and rescue workers began cleaning up wreckage Tuesday in southern Virginia, a day after three tornados devastated homes and property in a wide area around the city of Suffolk.
More than 200 people were hurt in the storms but only six of the injuries were serious, officials said. There are no reports of deaths, despite the intensity of the winds and the damage caused.
"We have no reports of anybody missing," said Bob Spieldenner of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, "Looking at some of that damage, if we get out of this without any fatalities, we'll be very lucky.
The state governor, Timothy Kaine, declared a state of emergency and is visiting the worst-affected areas Tuesday. The declaration frees up state and federal government funding to help with the cleanup and to compensate business owners and municipalities for losses.
Roads were closed around Suffolk because of downed trees and power lines. Some areas were still without power by mid-morning Tuesday.
The area is not normally prone to tornadoes and officials told reporters that there were no early warning systems or evacuation plans as are common in states such as Kansas, Tennessee and Arkansas.
With files from the Associated Press