Weather

Apr 5, 2011 9:39 AM by Nichole Larkey & AP

High winds, rain, hit South; at least 7 killed

JACKSON, Ga. (AP) - At least seven people died in the South as fast-moving spring storms packing high winds, hail and lightning blew through the region, uprooting trees and knocking out power to
hundreds of thousands, including in metro Atlanta.
The storms were part of a system that cut a wide swath from the Mississippi River across the Southeast to Georgia and the Carolinas on Monday and early Tuesday. Skies were clearing behind the system
Tuesday, but tornado watches remained in effect in eastern North and South Carolina as the storms appeared to head out to sea.
A father and son were killed when a tree fell onto a home in Butts County in central Georgia, Georgia Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Lisa Janak said. The sheriff's office there reports that the 28-year-old man and the boy were killed early
Tuesday when a tree limb crashed onto the bed where they were
sleeping.
A woman and another child in the home were able to escape,
Jackson Mayor Charlie Brown said.
Brown said the storm's devastation was the worst the community
had seen in 30 or 40 years.
"I would say weeks, a minimum of weeks for us to be able to
clean up our community," Brown said.
Farther south, a 45-year-old man was found dead under debris
after a mobile home in Dodge County was ripped from its foundation,
according to a news release from the Dodge County Sheriff's Office.
Janak said there had been a possible tornado in that county.
In northwest Atlanta, a man was killed when a tree fell on his
car, according to Atlanta police. A fifth death was also reported
in south Georgia's Colquitt County, Janak said.
"Damage reports are coming in and I'm sure more will come in
when daylight comes," Janak said early Tuesday.
About 20 possible tornadoes were reported around the region,
according to the National Weather Service.
In Memphis, fire officials said an 87-year-old man found dead in
his home Monday was electrocuted by a downed power line.
In southern Mississippi, a 21-year-old man was killed when his
car struck a tree that had fallen across a road, Copiah County
coroner Ellis Stuart said.
The storms were moving across the Carolinas early Tuesday,
knocking down trees and causing power outages. Power outages were
also reported Tuesday in states farther north, including Maryland,
Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia.
In western Kentucky, seven people working at a plant suffered
minor injuries Monday when a possible tornado hit.
Christian County Emergency Management Director Randy Graham said
about three dozen people who usually work in the area of the Toyoda
Gosei Automotive Sealing Kentucky that was struck by the storm were
at the other end of the building for their lunch break when it hit.
"We're fortunate not to have any serious injuries or death,"
he said. The county is seeking a disaster declaration based on the
damage at the plant. He said about 120 to 130 people were there
when a front wall partially collapsed and a side wall and roof torn
out.
Strong winds ripped away part of the roof of an elementary
school gymnasium in Ashland City, Tenn., but officials said no
children were injured.
Most of the storm damage in eastern Tennessee was caused by high
winds, according to the National Weather Service.
Winds gusting to about 50 mph blew down trees and power lines
across north Alabama before heading to Georgia on Monday. The
National Weather Service recorded wind gusts up to 49 mph at the
Huntsville, Ala., airport.
In DeKalb County east of Atlanta, meteorologists report 1-inch
hail and storms packed high winds of 30 to 50 mph in some places
Monday. Hundreds of lightning strikes were reported.
The storms came on the heels of the 37th anniversary of the
worst recorded outbreak of tornadoes in U.S. history, in which 148
twisters hit 13 states across the South and Midwest on April 3-4 in
1974.

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