At least 1 dead in Florida as storms continue to pummel the South. DeSantis declares emergency

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla, May 11, (AP): Powerful storms packing hurricane-force winds killed at least one woman Friday in Florida as a week of deadly severe weather continued in the South, where uprooted trees crashed onto homes and knocked out electricity to thousands in several states.
City officials in Tallahassee said wind gusts of 80 to 100 mph (128 to 161 kph), speeds that exceed hurricane intensity, were reported in Florida’s capital city. Images posted on social media showed mangled metal and other debris from damaged buildings littering some areas.
Florida Gov Ron DeSantis on Friday issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency for 12 counties in the northern part of the state affected by the storm.
A statement on the Tallahassee government’s website said crews were scrambling to repair 100 broken power poles while half the homes and businesses were left without electricity in a city of 200,000 people. It said the National Weather Service was assessing paths of three potential tornadoes.
“Our area experienced catastrophic wind damage,” Tallahassee Mayor John Dailey said on the social platform X.
Crews have told customers in the dark that the restoration may take days. City officials expect the work to restore power will go through the weekend.
City spokesperson Alison Faris told The Tallahassee Democrat that the extent of the damage has made restoration hard-going because crews are focused on fixing the transmission infrastructure before they can start work on the distribution of power that energizes homes and businesses.
“Transmission first and then we restore circuits which impacts distribution,” Faris told the Democrat. “All hands are on the transmission. We should start seeing some circuits repaired here shortly.”
The first wave of more than 215 personnel from 20 utilities in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia and South Carolina has arrived to help crews as they work to repair the electric system.
The sheriff’s office for Leon County, which includes Tallahassee, said in a Facebook post Friday that a woman was killed when a tree fell onto her family’s home.

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