Storm in Mississippi leaves one dead, others injured

KANSAS CITY, Missouri Thu Apr 11, 2013 3:38pm EDT

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KANSAS CITY, Missouri (Reuters) - One person was reported killed and several others injured after severe weather on Thursday caused power outages and damaged buildings in Kemper County, Mississippi, emergency management officials said.

"I don't know if those are homes or businesses at this point," said Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn, who noted the reported death and injuries.

In Noxubee County, Mississippi, a tornado destroyed mobile homes, uprooted trees and overturned an 18-wheel tractor trailer, according to a Noxubee County Sheriff's Department employee.

The severe weather followed a storm that spawned hail, driving rain and a possible tornado as it roared through parts of Missouri and Arkansas overnight, leaving a trail of damage in its wake, as a broader storm system stretched from Texas to Pennsylvania.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in the St. Louis area where about 25 homes in the suburb of Hazelwood sustained damage from high winds and falling trees.

Winds of 40 to 70 miles per hour were noted through the area, with a gust of 101 miles per hour clocked southwest of St. Louis, according to the National Weather Service.

While the worst of the damage was noted in Missouri and Arkansas, severe weather, including hail and high winds, was reported from northeast Texas through Pennsylvania and into New York, said Bill Bunting, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center.

Bunting said it appeared one or more tornadoes may have touched down overnight in Missouri and Arkansas but the swirling winds were not yet confirmed as twisters.

In Arkansas at least four people were earlier taken to the hospital with injuries attributed to the severe weather after an apparent twister tore through a church near the town of Clinton, damaging several buildings and uprooting trees, officials said.

Eight homes and a church were destroyed in the north-central part of Arkansas, officials said, and electricity was knocked out to some 4,000 customers.

Severe thunderstorms were possible for Thursday into Friday for the central and eastern Gulf states into the Carolinas and parts of southern Virginia, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

The storm system has been crawling eastward the last few days, bringing hail, freezing rain and high winds to Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas while dumping heavy snow in Colorado and northern states of South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota.

(Additional reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City, David Bailey in Minneapolis, Suzi Parker in Little Rock, Arkansas and Emily Le Coz in Jackson, Mississippi; Editing by Scott Malone, Bob Burgdorfer and Alden Bentley)

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