Four killed in possible tornado as storms
lash U.S. South
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[January 03, 2017]
By Jon Herskovitz
AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A tornado is
believed to have killed four people in southeast Alabama on Monday, when
winds sent a tree crashing onto a home as a heavy storm system pounded
the U.S. South with rain, hail and strong winds, officials said.
The victims were in a mobile home in Rehobeth, just outside the city of
Dothan, Houston County emergency management spokeswoman Kris Ware said
in a telephone interview.
Authorities fighting to extricate three more people who were in the
mobile home at the time expect them to survive, but emergency workers
are trying to determine how badly they were hurt, she added.
"Prayers for those impacted today," Alabama Governor Robert Bentley said
in a message on social network Twitter, referring to the four deaths.
The National Weather Service has made a preliminary determination that a
tornado struck the area, Storm Prediction Center meteorologist John Hart
said by telephone.
Ware said officials believed the four mobile home deaths were due to a
tornado, adding that the roofs and garages of other homes nearby also
Officials said they plan to make a full damage assessment on Tuesday.
The National Weather Service had a total of six preliminary reports of
tornadoes touching down in Alabama and Mississippi on Monday, Hart said.
Except for Rehobeth, there were no reports of fatalities from the
possible twisters, however.
Heavy rains brought by the storm system caused localized flooding in
some parts of the U.S. South, officials said.
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A 70-year-old man in the area of DeFuniak Springs in northwest
Florida was found drowned on Monday following flooding there, the
Walton County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.
Sheriff's deputies discovered the man facedown near his
partially-submerged car, it added, but it was not immediately clear
when he drowned.
Strong winds snapped power lines in several U.S. states along the
Gulf of Mexico coast on Monday, leaving tens of thousands of
customers without power, officials said.
Hail fell in several states, including Alabama and Arkansas, the
National Weather Service said.
The weather in the U.S. South was expected to improve on Tuesday,
The storms had limited impact on air travel, with nearly 40 arriving
and departing flights canceled at Houston Bush Intercontinental
Airport, one of the country's busiest, according to tracking firm
(Additional reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by
David Gregorio and Clarence Fernandez)
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