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Survivors in Shock After Deadly Winter Storms Rip Through South: 'I Never Did Hear a Tornado Siren'

(CBS) (CBS)

A brutal weather system ripped through the South over the weekend, destroying homes and killing at least 18.

The apparent winter tornadoes and other powerful storms struck most violently in southern Georgia near the Florida border, where officials said 14 of the deaths occurred.

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While storm warnings were issued in the region Saturday into early Sunday, residents said the unusually large and powerful system took them by surprise.

"I didn't hear nothing. I just seen it all come off the house. And I never heard a tornado siren or nothing," Houston County resident Billy Dixon told reporters as he stood shell-shocked, surrounded by debris from his shredded home.

Dixon was one of countless homeowners devastated over the weekend, many of whom lost everything as the storms ravaged whole communities. In Cook County alone, a coroner says seven people were confirmed dead at one mobile home park.

The storm began Saturday, when four deaths were confirmed in Mississippi. 

While calling for a state of emergency Sunday, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal warned of continued severe weather.

"These storms have devastated communities and homes in South Central Georgia, and the state is making all resources available to the impacted areas," Deal said. "These storms have resulted in loss of life, numerous injuries and extensive property damage, and our thoughts and prayers are with Georgians suffering from the storm’s impact.

"As we continue to assess the damage, I’m prepared to expand or extend this emergency declaration as needed. In addition to the state’s response, all indications suggest we will also be submitting a request for federal assistance as well."

Deal also thanked President Donald Trump, who made a phone call to the governor.

"We’ll be helping out the state of Georgia," Trump said.

Read: Woman Clings to Tree for 12 Hours in Freezing Storm After Crash Kills Best Friend: Report

The threat of severe weather continued into Sunday night in areas extending as far north as the Carolinas.

The National Weather Service confirmed that two tornadoes struck South Carolina over the weekend, injuring one woman.

Watch: Famous California Tree That Draws Crowds Topples Over in Storm

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