UPDATE: Virginia Emergency Officials Reduce Death Toll to 5

April 28, 2011

Virginia emergency management officials have reduced to five the number of people killed by a string of violent storms.

Officials originally said eight people - one in Halifax County and seven in Washington County - were killed Wednesday evening and early Thursday.

Virginia Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Laura Southard updated the figure Thursday afternoon. She says communication problems with officials on the scene in Washington County resulted in a double count of some of the victims.

Emergency officials originally said seven people in Washington County were killed when a storm hit a truck stop and several residences in the Glade Spring area around 1:30am Thursday. that number has since been reduced to four.

Gov. Bob McDonnell issued a state of emergency declaration Thursday morning. It authorizes state agencies to assist local officials in response and recover efforts.

Nationally, dozens of tornadoes wiped out entire towns across a wide swath of the South, killing at least 269 people, and officials said Thursday they expect the death toll to rise.

The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said it received 137 tornado reports around the regions into Wednesday night.

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