West News Wire: At least nine people have died as a result of tornadoes and heavy rain that swept over areas of the southern United States, according to authorities, and more than one million people are without power.
By late Friday, according to the National Weather Service, the severe storm had mostly departed the southern US and was headed northeast, where it was expected to produce significant amounts of snow and sleet from southeast Michigan east to New York state. By Saturday afternoon, more than 30cm (a foot) of snow may have fallen in certain areas of central New York and southern New England.
At least two tornadoes spawned by the storm system tore through the western region of Kentucky on Friday, according to Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear.
The governor said on social media that at least three people were killed in the severe weather, though he did not provide any more details.
A fourth person was killed by the storm in Kentucky, a woman who died when a tree fell on the car she was in, the Fayette County coroner’s office said.
Aside from the tornadoes, Beshear said thunderstorms in Kentucky were generating winds of 129km (80 miles) per hour, which are “strong enough to blow tractor-trailers off the road”.
Beshear had declared a state of emergency before the storm and on Friday evening the mayor of Louisville, Craig Greenberg, followed suit because of the severe storms, high winds, widespread damage and danger to lives and property.
“I encourage everyone in our community to exercise extreme caution this evening, and in the coming days do not drive through standing water, do not approach downed power lines, or do anything that would put the lives of anyone at risk,” Greenberg said in a Facebook post.
The National Weather Service in Louisville called the storm on Friday “powerful and historic” with peak wind gusts between 96-128km (60-80 mph) per hour.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said on social media that three people were killed in the storm in her state, though she provided no details.