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ATLANTA (AP) — The East Coast prepared Wednesday for yet another day of heavy rain, severe thunderstorms and strong winds, while residents and officials in northern Georgia surveyed more than 50 homes damaged by a suspected tornado.
Tornado watches were issued for parts of the Virginias, and officials in Washington, D.C., handed out sandbags to residents to protect homes from flooding. Thousands of customers were without electricity in the Mid-Atlantic, commuters were slowed by slippery roads and some schools delayed openings. The system was forecast to head toward the Northeast, with colder air turning the rain into snow.
In the north Georgia town of Buford, a possible tornado caused widespread damage to a neighborhood, but no injuries were reported.
The entire side of Mike Croker's two-story home was ripped off, exposing a living room with furniture and a staircase. Croker, 54, who has lived near Buford his entire life, said he was inside when the sound of roaring wind brought him to his knees and forced him to crawl into his bathroom.
"The kitchen's gone; the great room's gone," Croker told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution later. "It looks like to me it's pretty well leveled."
Other pictures showed shingles torn off homes and debris scattered across front yards.
In Tennessee, a rock slide followed two inches of rain, blocking part of a highway between Knoxville and the airport. Wet, wintry weather in Pennsylvania caused flooding and delayed school openings. More than 3 inches of rain had fallen in Pittsburgh since Tuesday morning, National Weather Service officials said, and flooding forced the evacuation of dorms at the University of Pittsburgh satellite campus in Bradford near the New York state line. Classes were canceled Wednesday.
Earlier, the storm brought suspected tornadoes to Louisiana and Mississippi, where more than a dozen people were injured. Schools were closed in Alabama.
In Yazoo City, Miss., which was hit several months ago by a severe tornado, 63-year-old Clarence Taylor said the town again looked like a war zone. The winds blew off a tarp he had put on his roof to cover damage from the April storm.
"This is the second time it dropped down on this street in just six months," Taylor said. "I've been through it, man."
In central Louisiana, a tornado destroyed a brick house and damaged three other homes.