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Tornado, Storm Death Toll Rises in Southeastern United States
A strong spring storm has taken the Southeastern United States by surprise, inflicting rain, ice and tornados upon the residents of Mississippi, Arkansas, and Missouri.
According to CBS, the storm first hit Missouri on Wednesday night. The National Weather Service said on Thursday that an EF-2 tornado, which has winds that top out at 157 mph, damaged dozens of homes in a suburb of St. Louis. In addition to the tornado, the storm brought down hail, rain, ice, and extremely strong winds. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency, and requested the assistance of the National Guard. Tennessee also declared a state of emergency on Thursday, as the storm traveled across the state, and tornado warnings were put into effect.
The tornado cause one death in Liberty, Mississippi, and several more injuries were reported as the storm swept through Noxubee County. Another woman in the Nebraska panhandle lost her life as she attempted to walk a mile in blinding snow from her disabled car to her home.
In Hazelwood, Missouri, the roofs of two homes were ripped off and an automobile was flipped over by the storm. A suspected tornado caused damage in Arkansas, and heavy rain and melting snow caused rivers to flood in Michigan. In South Dakota, snow and ice shut down several roads.
In addition to the damage caused by the tornado, strong winds knocked down several power lines, which caused a blackout affecting more than 23,000 homes. One utility worker was electrocuted while attempting to repair damage, and though he was quickly rushed to an area hospital, he did not survive the incident.
Early this morning, the National Weather Service downgraded their weather alerts, which means that the worst, hopefully, has passed. But as the storm moves to East Coast, heavy rain and even snow is expected from Georgia to New York. The Masters at Augusta National golf tournament is scheduled for this weekend, and weather conditions may affect the popular sporting event.
Image credit: David Carson, AP