The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 30, 2013

1 dead as vast storm rakes South, Midwest



JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A large storm system packing high winds, hail and several possible tornadoes 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.

In Arkansas, another person was reported injured by lightning in Arkansas during the storm's eastward trek. The severe weather system ushered in a cold front as it raced toward the Eastern seaboard, dumping rain over the region.

The rapidly changing conditions created a risk of tornadoes in the nation's midsection and South. The National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said the threat was greatest in recent hours in northeast Texas, northern Louisiana, northwest Mississippi, southeast Missouri and much of Arkansas.

The center said it was investigating reports of at least four possible tornadoes in states including Arkansas and Mississippi. 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 truck 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.

In Alabama, thousands more were without power early Wednesday as the storms forced schools to delay opening.

Entergy Arkansas Inc. reported at least 9,000 power outages in several communities around Arkansas at the height of the storm, including in and around Little Rock.

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