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Three dead after severe weather hits Arkansas and Kentucky

Emergency declarations had been announced in anticipation of severe weather a day earlier in Missouri, Indiana and Illinois.

A teddy bear lies among the debris after a fierce storm hit Clarksville, Tennessee (AP)
A teddy bear lies among the debris after a fierce storm hit Clarksville, Tennessee (AP)

At least three people have died in Kentucky and Arkansas after severe thunderstorms spawned suspected tornadoes and triggered widespread flooding.

The weather system that stretched from Texas to the Canadian maritime provinces had prompted emergency declarations a day earlier in Missouri, Indiana and Illinois.

In south central Kentucky, the body of a male was recovered from a vehicle submerged in floodwater in a creek near the community of Franklin on Saturday, the Simpson County Sheriff’s Office said. The victim’s identify was being withheld while his relatives are informed.

About 20 miles away, Dallas Jane Combs, 79, died after a suspected tornado destroyed her Adairville home earlier on Saturday, Logan County Sheriff’s Office said. Officials said Ms Combs was inside the home when it collapsed on top of her. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

A statue of Mary is among the items volunteers salvaged from the rubble of a destroyed home in Clarksville (AP)

Authorities said Ms Combs’ husband was outside putting up plastic to keep rain out of the home when he was blown into the basement area. He sustained minor injuries in the incident.

In north-east Arkansas, an 83-year-old man was killed after high winds toppled a trailer home. Albert Foster died on Saturday night after the home was blown into a pond, Clay County Sheriff Terry Miller said.

About 50 miles away, the US National Weather Service said the roof was blown off a hotel in Osceola, about 160 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee.

Storm-related damage also was reported in Middle Tennessee, where Fox17 in Nashville reported extensive damage to homes and vehicles. Fox17 said at least a dozen homes were damaged in one Montgomery County subdivision.

The National Weather Service said it was sending crews to survey damage in a section of central Tennessee.

Missouri governor Eric Greitens signed an executive order earlier on Saturday declaring a state of emergency ahead of the anticipated storms and flooding in parts of southern Missouri. The order activates the resources of the Missouri National Guard and ensures state resources are available in the event of weather damage.

Neighbours help collect clothing and look for pets at a destroyed home in Tennessee (AP)

Other state leaders have issued similar orders: Indiana governor Eric Holcomb declared a disaster emergency for 11 counties, while Illinois governor Bruce Rauner issued a state disaster proclamation for three counties hit by flooding.

Flood watches and warnings spanned multiple states on Sunday morning, from Missouri to central Pennsylvania, while a wind advisory remains in effect for nearly all of Lower Michigan.

The weather service said moderate flooding was expected along the Ohio River in Kentucky and Ohio, including in Cincinnati, where the river was 8ft above flood stage.

Transportation officials said parts of Interstate 64 in Louisville, Kentucky, were closed in both directions Sunday due to high water.

In Middle Tennessee, the National Weather Service confirmed an EF-2 tornado with maximum winds of 120mph hit Clarksville on Saturday.

At Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, a teenage girl was hit by falling debris at a college basketball game after an apparent lightning strike knocked a hole in the arena’s roof. School officials said the 15-year-old girl was taken to a hospital as a precaution.

Press Association


From Belfast Telegraph