Feb 21 A powerful storm that blasted the north
central United States with heavy, wet snow and damaging
tornadoes pushed onward Friday, threatening more twisters,
severe thunderstorms and high winds in the southeastern states,
In central Georgia, trees and power lines were knocked down,
and several buildings damaged on Friday morning, but no injuries
were reported, a county official said.
The damaging winds came "very, very close" to a private
school with children inside, Laurens County manager Bryan Rogers
The storm, called a panhandle hook for its origin in the
panhandles of Oklahoma or Texas and its twisting shape,
triggered concerns about damaging winds and possible tornadoes
from parts of South Carolina through North Carolina, Virginia,
southern Maryland and Delaware, forecasters said.
"There is a pretty extensive line of storms that extends
from just west and southwest of Washington D.C. all the way down
to the Florida panhandle," said Jeremy Grams, a meteorologist
with the Storm Prediction Center.
There were more than three dozen reports on Friday of high
winds and damage in southern Georgia, northern Florida, North
Carolina, Virginia and eastern Kentucky.
Nearly 3,000 flights were delayed around the United States
and more than 700 canceled by about midday Friday, according to
FlightAware.com, which tracks flights.
The same storm system slammed the north central United
States on Thursday with heavy snow and blizzard conditions in
Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, with severe thunderstorms and
several tornado reports across central Illinois.
Reports of damaging winds stretched from Indiana south to
In Tennessee, winds ripped up the roof on a high school
gymnasium in Gainesboro, Nashville TV station WKRN said. A wind
gust up to 95 mph damaged trees and roofs in Hendersonville, a
Nashville suburb. No injuries were reported.
The storm dropped up to a foot of snow in parts of Minnesota
and Wisconsin. Motorists were advised to stay off ice and snow
covered roads through much of Minnesota on Friday.
The Minnesota State Patrol reported 404 accidents since the
storm hit on Thursday, one fatal. About 58,000 Minnesota and
Wisconsin Xcel Energy customers lost power in the storm. Service
was restored to all but 9,400 by midmorning Friday, Xcel said.
(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis, Tim Ghianni in
Nashville, David Beasley in Georgia, Kim Palmer in Cleveland;
editing by Gunna Dickson)