A tornado reportedly touched down early Sunday in Troup County, Georgia, near the Alabama border, flattening homes and risking a possible direct hit to an automobile plant.
Georgia Mutual Aid Group (GMAG) said affected areas included the county seat of LaGrange, about 67 miles southwest of Atlanta.
“I-85 Blocked both sides N of Ga 103. All Troup Co. vollies activated, ordered to report to all stations to stand by for deployment. Many buildings damaged, people trapped,” GMAG wrote on Facebook. In the town of West Point, Ga., the group warned of, “numerous houses collapsed, people trapped” around the areas of Samples Road, First Ave. and West Smith Road.
“Many Roads blocked by debris. I-85 Closed, both directions due to many trees across Interstate and vehicles damaged,” the post said.
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The Troup County Sheriff’s Office said it was receiving multiple reports of trees down, damage to houses and power lines down.
“If you do not have to get on the roads this morning please do not travel,” the agency wrote Sunday morning. “There is also a report that Verizon cell service is interrupted.”
“STAY OFF THE ROADS Troup County!” another message from the sheriff’s office said.
“TORNADO WATCH for Troup County until 1 PM,” another post added. “FLOOD WATCH until Monday.”
Georgia residents shared photos and videos to social media of large golf-ball-sized pieces of hail falling over the area early Sunday.
Amid the tornado watch, the sheriff’s office also warned it received a report from the Pine Mountain Animal Safari “that they are reporting a Tiger that is unaccounted inside the park.”
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The Weather Channel meteorologist Jennifer Watson cited local EMA in tweeting Sunday about multiple injuries reported from the tornado that moved south of LaGrange, Ga. this morning. She also noted reports of homes leveled and that parts of highways I-85 and 185 were closed due to trees and damage.
Another social media user speculated that the projected path of the tornado suggested the Kia Assembly Plant in West Point, Ga., could take a “direct hit.”
Fox News Digital reached out to Georgia Emergency Management and Kia Georgia for more information but did not hear back before publication.
This comes as President Joe Biden issued an emergency declaration for Mississippi early Sunday, making federal funding available to the areas hardest hit Friday night by a deadly tornado that ripped through the Mississippi Delta, one of the poorest regions of the U.S. At least 25 people were killed and dozens of others were injured in Mississippi as the massive storm ripped through several towns on its hour-long path. One man was killed after his trailer home flipped several times in Alabama.
Search and recovery crews on Sunday resumed the daunting task of digging through the debris of flattened and battered homes, commercial buildings and municipal offices after hundreds of people were displaced. The National Weather Service warned of a risk of more severe weather Sunday — including high winds, large hail and possible tornadoes in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.