Severe weather aims for the southeast after a deadly tornado killed two children in Franklin, TX.
A wide swath of the nation was awakening to devastation Monday after a deadly front drove a line of severe storms and tornadoes through much of the South and East over the weekend, destroying neighborhoods and flattening a Texas town.
The death toll rose to eight and dozens more were injured after a wave of suspected tornadoes roared from Texas to Maryland. Rolling power outages followed the storms, and 170,000 homes and businesses without power Monday from North Carolina to Pennsylvania.
On Sunday afternoon, six people were taken to hospitals after a suspected tornado roared through a section of Shelby, Ohio.
“If there is a silver lining to the cloud that passed us, was the time, day and location,” Police Chief Lance Combs said. “Just a half a mile to the north and our residential neighborhoods would have been devastated.”
Wind gusts of 60-70 mph accompanied the storms, more than enough to topple trees and power lines.
Severe storms and high winds blasted Washington D.C. and it suburbs Sunday night and early Monday, and the weather service warned that 50 mph gusts were possible all day Monday.
The storm had wound its way to New England, and the iconic Boston Marathon was set Monday to be run with a forecast of possible thunderstorms and wind gusts up to 34 mph, the National Weather Service said.
In Texas, almost 2,000 flights were delayed or canceled Saturday and Sunday into and out of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport as high winds and occasional hail buffeted the area. Almost 200 miles to the Southeast, the Angelina County Sheriff’s Office said two children were killed Saturday when strong winds toppled a tree onto their family’s car.
In nearby Alto, Sheriff James Campbell said at least 25 people were injured, eight critically, after a tornado ripped through a cultural event at Caddo Mounds State Historic Site. And more than 100 miles to the west, a massive tornado estimated at EF3 strength with winds of 140 mph tore through Franklin, Texas, AccuWeather said.
Robertson County Emergency Management Coordinator Billy Huggins said more than a dozen people were injured and more than 50 homes and businesses were damaged or destroyed.
“The south side of Franklin looks like a war zone,” County Sheriff Gerald Yezak told Patch.com.
Mississippi was also hard hit, with Gov. Phil Bryant declaring a state of emergency on Sunday night.
Authorities in Monroe County said a 95-year-old man was killed when a tree fell on his mobile home, and several people were missing and several homes were damaged in Hamilton, a rural hamlet of about 500 people 45 miles northeast of Starkville.
County Road Manager Sonny Clay said 19 people were injured, two critically. A hospital clinic, apartment complex, firehouse and several single-family homes were damaged. Clay told the Monroe Journal that Hamilton drew the most destruction, but that damage was widespread throughout the county.
Starkville is home to Mississippi State University, and thousands of the school’s 21,000-plus students were huddled in basements and hallways as the storms roared by. The school’s crisis team was assessing the damage, spokesman Sid Salter said Sunday, adding that damage appeared to be minimal.
National Weather Service meteorologist John Moore said a possible twister also touched down Saturday in the Vicksburg, 160 miles southwest of Starkville. No injuries were reported, but several businesses and vehicles were damaged.
In Louisiana, Deputy Glenn Springfield of the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Department said two people died in floodwaters Saturday. And in Alabama, a Jefferson County employee was struck and killed by a vehicle while clearing toppled trees from a roadway.
The area at risk Sunday stretched from the upper Ohio Valley and central Appalachians to the upper Gulf Coast, AccuWeather warned. A tornado was confirmed on the east side of Shelby, Ohio, late Sunday afternoon, Accuweather said.
Contributing: Kristin Lam, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
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