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9 Dead Amid Severe US Storms

Louisiana takes the brunt of it so far
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 11, 2020 12:30 PM CST
Updated Jan 11, 2020 4:30 PM CST

(Newser) – Severe storms sweeping across parts of the US South were blamed Saturday in the deaths of at least nine people, including two first responders, as high winds, tornadoes, and unrelenting rain battered a large area of the region, the AP reports. Storm-related fatalities were reported in icy weather in Texas, a tornado in Alabama, and winds so strong in Louisiana that they toppled trees and lifted a trailer home off its foundation and carried it several hundred feet. Hundreds of thousands of people were left without power from Texas to Michigan, parts of highways were closed in Oklahoma and Arkansas due to flooding and hundreds of flights were canceled at Chicago's international airports.

  • Two first responders were killed and another was critically injured in Lubbock, Texas, Saturday morning after they were hit by a vehicle while working the scene of a traffic accident in icy conditions, officials said.

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  • Another person had died in Texas Friday night when a car flipped into a creek in Dallas as severe thunderstorms passed through. Lightning from Friday's stormy weather was suspected of causing fires that burned two houses by caused no injuries in the North Texas cities of Burleson and Mansfield.
  • In Alabama, three people were confirmed killed near Carrollton in Pickens County, the National Weather Service in Birmingham said on Twitter. The Alabama Emergency Management Agency said the deaths were caused by an “embedded tornado within a long line of intense thunderstorms."
  • Earlier Saturday, in northwestern Louisiana, firefighters found the bodies of an elderly couple near their demolished trailer in Benton, the Bossier Parish Sheriff's Office said via Facebook. The winds were so strong the home of the couple, who were the in-laws of a parish deputy, was moved 200 feet from its foundation. Also in Louisiana, a 75-year-old was killed in his bed when a tree fell on his home in Oil City, crushing him, according to the Caddo Parish Coroner's Office.
  • More than 139,000 people were without power in Alabama, according to Alabama Power. According to PowerOutage.us, Mississippi had more than 39,000 power outages Saturday afternoon. About 20,000 customers were without power in Louisiana. Outages were reported from Texas to Michigan.

  • In Tennessee, Memphis Light, Gas and Water said about 23,000 customers were without power Saturday morning. Damage was widespread throughout Shelby County, Tennessee's most populous county that includes Memphis, including downed trees and power poles, some of which will need to be replaced, according to the utility.
  • The Oklahoma Department of Transportation reported Saturday morning that portions of several highways in the southeastern part of the state were closed due to flooding. The Arkansas Department of Transportation reported that portions of several state highways across the state, particularly in the southeastern portion of Arkansas were closed due to downed trees and power lines and to flooding.
  • On Alabama's Gulf Coast, Baldwin County canceled school activities including sporting events for Saturday. The National Weather Service warned of high winds and flooding and the potential for 10-foot-high waves on beaches, where northern visitors escaping the cold are a common sight during the winter.
  • Many streams already are at or near flood levels because of earlier storms, and heavy rains could lead to flash flooding across the region, forecasters said. Parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana were under flash flood warnings or watches on Saturday.
  • The storm, bringing the threat of ice and snow to the Chicago area, prompted the cancellation of about 1,000 flights Saturday at Chicago's two main airports.
(Read more weather stories.)

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