7 dead as storms pound South for second straight day
At least seven people are dead from Arkansas to Alabama as a second day of storms and tornadoes crossed the South.
The latest round of severe weather Tuesday night and early Wednesday came a day after a series of powerful storms killed 10 people in Arkansas and one in Mississippi.
One person died when a tree fell on a car in north Alabama. A Cullman County sheriff’s spokesman said Wednesday that emergency responders were working to free another person from the car.
Emergency managers said at least two people died in St. Clair County in central Alabama.
In Mississippi, officials in Choctaw County said a police officer was killed by a tree limb as he shielded his daughter on a camping trip.
Also in Mississippi, a man was crushed when a tree fell on his mobile home and a truck driver died after hitting a downed tree.
The National Weather Service had issued a high-risk warning for severe weather from northeast of Memphis to just northeast of Dallas and covering a large swath of Arkansas. The warning continued into Wednesday. It last issued such a warning on April 16, when dozens of tornadoes hit North Carolina and killed 21 people.
Emergency management officials in Alabama said two suspected tornadoes touched down in Marshall County, about 70 miles northeast of Birmingham, causing widespread injuries and damage.
The weather service didn’t immediately confirm twister damage, but forecasters had issued several tornado warnings and said winds blew as hard as 70 mph, just short of hurricane force.
High winds also damaged a hangar at the Birmingham airport.
Dozens of tornado warnings were issued in Arkansas throughout the night. Strong winds peeled part of the roof off of a medical building next to a hospital in West Memphis, near the Tennessee border, but no one was inside.
At least one person was injured when a storm slammed through the tiny town of Edom some 75 miles east of Dallas late Tuesday, said Fire Chief Eddie Wood. Witnesses described seeing what they thought was a tornado rolling the woman’s mobile home with her inside.
“We have major destruction,” said Chuck Allen, Van Zandt County emergency management spokesman. “We have multiple houses damaged or destroyed … easily 100-plus.”
Ted Ryan, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, said at least one tornado almost certainly hit between Edom and the town of Van to the north. He said the weather service would send a team to the area Wednesday to assess the damage and determine the strength of the storm.
A video shot by the Tyler Morning Telegraph showed emergency responders covering the injured woman to shield her from rain and hail. Her mobile home was reduced to a pile of debris in the road.
At daybreak Wednesday, residents on the outskirts of the small, rural community started to clear up the damage from the storm. The area was littered with uprooted trees, some had split in half and others landed on homes.
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