Nine people have died in five southern states after a series of storms with damaging winds ripped through the region Thursday and Friday, authorities said.
Three people died in Kentucky on Friday, one in Tennessee, three in Alabama and one person was found dead in Arkansas, authorities said. One person in Mississippi died Thursday due to severe weather.
More than 750,000 homes and businesses in the states of Tennessee and Kentucky were without power Friday night, according to the outage tracking website. poweroutage.us.
“We have already lost too many people to flooding, tornadoes and other weather events, so we want everyone to be safe today,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said at a news conference Friday morning.
He signed a state of emergency to help get assistance where it’s needed, including notifying 400 National Guardsmen.
The deaths in Kentucky occurred in Simpson, Edmonson and Logan counties, Beshear said.
In Humphreys County, Tennessee, a man was found dead in a car with a tree on it, the sheriff’s office said.
The treetop fell about 50 feet and landed on the front of the vehicle. There were 50 to 60 mph straight-line winds at the time, the office said.
The three deaths in Alabama involved falling trees or falling tree limbs Friday in Talladega, Lexington and Huntsville, authorities said.
In Yazoo County, Mississippi, one person was killed when a tree fell on a vehicle Thursday, according to the agency, known as MEMA.
In Scott County, Arkansas, a man was found dead Friday morning near a truck submerged in floodwaters, the sheriff’s office said.
More than 14 million people were under high wind warnings in eastern Tennessee, most of Kentucky and parts of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio on Friday night, according to the National Weather Service. Wind advisories covered other areas, from Georgia to Pennsylvania.
Some locations in Tennessee saw winds on par with a tropical storm Friday, the weather service in Nashville said. Clarksville saw sustained winds of 40 mph and Springfield had 54 mph. (A tropical storm starts at 39 mph sustained.)
The Nashville Electric Service said it had 115,000 homes and businesses without power Friday night due to morning storms. About 48 high transmission lines were down, she said, and 18 power poles were broken.
A Tennessee Highway Patrol sergeant was investigating a crash Friday when trees fell on his car, briefly trapping him. the patrol said. The officer suffered no injuries.
A tornado was reported in McCracken County in western Kentucky. There was damage, but the sheriff’s department said Agents went door to door and found no injuries.
The Lexington, Kentucky, fire department said nearly all trucks were out of service Friday night, including from downed power lines and people trapped in elevators.