Severe thunderstorms in system stretching from Texas to Canada trigger flooding and at least one tornado
At least five were confirmed to have died after severe thunderstorms swept through the central US on Saturday, spawning a tornado that flattened homes, gale force winds and widespread flooding from the upper Midwest to Appalachia.
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The system stretched from Texas to the Canadian maritime provinces and prompted several emergency declarations.
In south-western Michigan, the body of a man was found floating in floodwaters on Sunday in Kalamazoo, city public safety Lt David Thomas said, adding that the death did not appear suspicious and authorities were trying to determine the man’s identity and cause of death. Kalamazoo has been hard hit by flooding from heavy rain and melting snow.
In Kentucky, authorities said three people died. Two bodies were recovered from submerged vehicles in separate incidents on Saturday. One was recovered from a vehicle in a ditch near Morganfield, the Henderson fire department said. The body was sent to a medical examiner for an autopsy.
The body of a male was recovered from a vehicle submerged in a creek near the community of Franklin, the Simpson County sheriff’s office said. The victim’s identify was being withheld pending notification of relatives.
In Adairville, Dallas Jane Combs, 79, died after a suspected tornado hit her home, the Logan County sheriff’s department told TV station WKRN. Officials said Combs was inside when the home collapsed. She was pronounced dead at the scene. Authorities said Combs’ husband was outside the house. He sustained minor injuries.
In Arkansas, an 83-year-old man died when high winds toppled a trailer home. The Clay County sheriff, Terry Miller, told KAIT-TV Albert Foster died on Saturday night after the home was blown into a pond.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said the roof was blown off a hotel in Osceola, about 160 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee. In middle Tennessee, Fox17 in Nashville reported extensive damage to homes and vehicles. Fox17 said at least a dozen homes were damaged in one Montgomery County subdivision.
The NWS confirmed an EF-2 tornado with maximum winds of 120mph hit Clarksville, about 48 miles north-west of Nashville, on Saturday. Montgomery County sheriff spokeswoman Sandra Brandon said at least four homes were destroyed and dozens of others 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, a teenage girl was hit by 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 was taken to a hospital as a precaution.