The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

January 30, 2013

1 dead as vast storm rakes South, Midwest

— JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A large storm system packing high winds, hail and at least one tornado tore across a wide swath of the South and Midwest on Wednesday, killing one person, blacking out power to thousands and damaging homes.

The death was reported when a large tree blew down on a shed in Nashville, Tenn., where a man was sheltering, police told Nashville broadcaster WTVF-TV. Authorities did not immediately release further details when reached by The Associated Press.

Another person was reported injured by lightning in Arkansas during the storm's eastward trek. Two people suffered minor injuries when a mobile home was blown off its foundation in Kentucky. The severe weather system ushered in a cold front as it raced toward the Eastern seaboard, dumping rain over the region and creating a tornado risk in the South.

The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said it was investigating reports of at least four possible tornadoes in states including Arkansas and Mississippi. In Tennessee, officials confirmed that a tornado with peak wind speeds of 115 mph touched down in Mount Juliet. No serious injuries were reported there, though the path of damage was about 150 yards wide, including homes, a warehouse and an automotive business.

Hail ranging up to nearly golf-ball size was also reported in some areas and barns and other buildings collapsed or were damaged, the center added.

Thousands were reported without power in Tennessee, where tornado warnings and flash flood warnings were issued for several counties and a tractor-trailer was blown over by high winds. Authorities east of Nashville said they were checking a possible tornado in Mount Juliet, where the top floor of a three-story building was damaged.

Power lines fell, trees were toppled and some homes suffered damage to rooftops, reports indicated. The weather service said suspected straight-line winds of up to 80 mph were reported in Arkansas late Tuesday night along with flooding in Arkansas' northeastern corner.

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