Tue, Feb 27, 2018 - Page 7 News List

US death toll hits five amid floods, storms and tornado

AP, CHARLESTON

The death toll from extreme weather in the US on Sunday rose to at least five, after severe thunderstorms swept through the center of the country, spawning a tornado that flattened homes, gale force winds and widespread flooding from the country’s Upper Midwest to Appalachia.

The system that stretched from Texas to the Canadian Maritime Provinces prompted several emergency declarations even before the dangerous storms arrived.

In southwestern Michigan, the body of a 48-year-old man was found floating in floodwaters in Kalamazoo, city Public Safety Lieutenant David Thomas said.

Kalamazoo has hard hit by flooding from last week’s heavy rains and melting snow.

In Kentucky, authorities said that three people died.

Two bodies were on Saturday recovered from submerged vehicles in separate incidents.

Dallas Jane Combs, 79, died after a suspected tornado destroyed her Adairville, Kentucky, home earlier on Saturday, the Logan County Sheriff’s Office told media.

Authorities said Combs’ husband was outside putting up plastic to keep rain out of the home when he was blown into the basement area. He sustained minor injuries.

The fifth death was in northeast Arkansas, where an 83-year-old man was killed after high winds toppled a trailer home.

Clay County Sheriff Terry Miller told reporters that Albert Foster died Saturday night after the home was blown into a pond.

About 80km away, the US National Weather Service said the roof was blown off a hotel in Osceola, about 257km north of Memphis, Tennessee.

In Middle Tennessee, the service on Sunday confirmed that an EF-2 tornado with maximum winds of 193kph hit Clarksville on Saturday.

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Sandra Brandon said that at least four homes were destroyed and dozens of others were damaged, while 75 cars at a tire plant parking lot had their windows blown out or were tossed onto one other.

“To look at what I’m looking at and know we didn’t lose anybody is just a miracle,” Montgomery County Mayor Jim Durrett told the Leaf-Chronicle.

At Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee, a teenage girl was on Saturday night hit by falling debris at a college basketball game after an apparent lightning strike knocked a hole in the arena’s roof.

School director of marketing and digital media Kevin Young said the 15-year-old girl was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

The governors of Missouri, Indiana and Illinois declared disaster emergencies. Flood watches and warnings on Sunday morning spanned multiple states, from Missouri to central Pennsylvania, while a wind advisory remained in effect for nearly all of Lower Michigan.

Wind gusts of up to 80kph in places have downed power lines in several states hugging Lake Michigan.

Consumers Energy said Sunday it was working to restore power to more than 20,000 customers across Michigan.

The weather service said moderate flooding was expected along the Ohio River in Kentucky and Ohio, including in Cincinnati, where the river was 2.4m above flood stage on Sunday.

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