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Tropical Storm Isaac Causes First Death as Tornadoes Ravage Region

Chris Graythen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As Tropical Storm Isaac moves away from the Gulf Coast and into the country's interior, spinning off tornadoes across two states, the storm has caused its first death in Pearl River County, Miss.

A tow truck driver was killed on the job by a tree that fell around midnight, Pearl River Emergency Management Deputy Director Amanda Harris told ABC News on Thursday.  The man's name and age has not yet been released.

"[The county] is completely flooded.  And it's only going to get worse," Harris said, adding that rivers and creeks along the county near the Louisiana border will not crest until midnight Thursday night through 4 a.m.

"The worst is yet to come," Harris said.

Pearl River County conducted four search and rescue operations and it is believed there are no more residents holding out in their homes, Harris said.  The county is receiving assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), state agencies and neighboring counties.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for intra-coastal city Louisiana to the Mississippi-Alabama border, including Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas.

Lt. Vernon Smith of the Pascagoula, Miss., police told ABC News that a tornado touched down at 8:20 a.m. Thursday just south of town that sits 28 miles from Biloxi.

"It landed right on top of a house, just sat on it," Smith said, adding that people were believed to be inside.  "There are people injured."

Smith said the tornado was now off the ground and moving through the main part of town, having traveled about a mile since touchdown.  

Officials are mobilizing emergency crews, but the torrential rain has made roads impassable.  The two to three feet of water flooding the area is too much for emergency vehicles to handle.

"We can't get through and we are scrambling," said Smith.

A tornado that touched down in Gulfport, Miss., has caused the most damage, where significant destruction to homes has been reported.  Carlos Redmond, a spokesman for Harrison County Emergency Management, said it's assessing the damage.

"We're looking for daylight.  That's what we're looking for.  We'll be able to tell a lot more at that time," Redmond told ABC News Thursday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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