The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

December 26, 2012

Christmas Day storms blamed for 3 deaths

(Continued)

The snowstorm that caused numerous accidents pushed out of Oklahoma late Tuesday, carrying with it blizzard warnings for parts of northeast Arkansas, where 10 inches of snow was forecast. Freezing rain clung to trees and utility lines in Arkansas and winds gusts up to 30 mph whipped them around, causing about 71,000 customers to lose electricity for a time.

Blizzard conditions were possible for parts of Illinois, Indiana and western Kentucky with predictions of 4 to 7 inches of snow.

A tornado struck a mobile home park near the municipal airport at Troy, Ala., trapping a man in the wreckage of a trailer, said Thomas Johnston of the Pike County Emergency Management Agency. Rescue workers freed the person, who wasn't hurt badly, and no other serious injuries were reported, he said.

An apparent tornado also caused damage in Grove Hill, about 80 miles north of Mobile.

Mary Cartright said she was working at the Fast Track convenience store in the town on Christmas evening when the wind started howling and the lights flickered, knocking out the store's computerized cash registers.

"Our cash registers are down so our doors are closed," said Cartright in a phone interview.

Trees fell on a few houses in central Louisiana's Rapides Parish, but there were no injuries reported, said sheriff's Lt. Tommy Carnline. Near McNeill, Miss., a likely tornado damaged a dozen homes and sent eight people to the hospital, none with life-threatening injuries, said Pearl River County emergency management agency director Danny Manley.

Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency in the state, saying eight counties have reported damages and some injuries.

Fog blanketed highways, including arteries in the Atlanta area, which was expected to be dealing with the same storm system on Wednesday. In New Mexico, drivers across the eastern plains had to fight through snow, ice and low visibility.

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