By Brad Brooks
(RockedBuzz via Reuters) – Storms that produced tornadoes and heavy rains tore through parts of the southern US on Friday, killing at least nine people and leaving more than 1 million customers without power, authorities said.
The National Weather Service said the powerful storm mostly left the South by late Friday and was moving northeastward, where it was expected to bring heavy snow and sleet from southeastern Michigan into upstate New York. York. Parts of central New York and southern New England could see more than a foot of snow by Saturday afternoon.
Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said at least two tornadoes triggered by the storm system ripped through western his state on Friday. The governor said on social media that at least three people were killed due to the bad weather, though he did not provide further details. A fourth person was killed by the Kentucky storm, 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 the storms in Kentucky were generating winds of 80 miles per hour (128.75 km/h), which are “strong enough to blow tractor trailers off the road.”
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said on social media that three people were killed in the storm in her state, though she didn’t provide details.
In Arkansas, a man died when he was swept into a swollen river by floodwaters after driving on a flooded road, according to the Scott County Sheriff’s Department.
In Mississippi, Governor Tate Reeves said on social media on Friday that overnight storms that produced high winds left one person dead, though he did not provide further details.
More than 1.4 million homes and businesses were without power in states affected by the storm, according to data from PowerOutage.us.
Severe storms are frequent in the southern United States in the winter months, as warm, moist air rises from the Gulf of Mexico and collides with cooler air coming in from the north, meteorologists say.
(Reporting by Brad Brooks in Lubbock, Texas; Editing by Sandra Maler)