Gov. Sonny Perdue declared a state of emergency in six Georgia counties this afternoon, a designation that makes state resources available to the area.
Three of the counties are in Middle Georgia: Bibb, Johnson and Laurens counties. The other three are Carroll County on the Alabama state line, Douglas County near west metro Atlanta and Jefferson County near Augusta.
Perdue already was planning to visit Macon on Monday for a Kumho Tire groundbreaking and Georgia Farm Bureau event. He may also survey the Middle Georgia storm damage, his press secretary said today.
The State Operations Center will be activated until further notice to provide assistance and will continue to monitor the situation, according to the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, and several state agencies will help assess the damage and clean up.
Federal assistance may also soon be available. President Bush, in Texas this weekend for his daughter's wedding, spoke to Perdue by telephone and pledged federal support, according to a White House spokesman.
"We send our prayers to those who lost their lives, the families of those who lost their lives," Bush said in an emailed statement, which also addressed storms that killed 21 people in Missouri and Oklahoma. "And the federal government will be moving in hard to help."
GEMA is the lead state agency for emergency response. For more information and updates, call 1-800-TRY-GEMA (1-800-879-4362) or visit www.gema.ga.gov.