Deadly Severe Weather Roars Through Several States, Spawning Potential Tornadoes

Thousands of homes and businesses were without power as severe weather roared through several states, causing at least one death and spawning possible tornados.

Thousands of homes and businesses were without power Tuesday as severe weather roared through several states, causing at least one death and spawning possible tornadoes.

In West Virginia, about 140,000 customers were without electricity Tuesday afternoon, or about 14% of all customers tracked in the state by

Northeastern Oklahoma was hit with a strong weather system containing heavy rains that produced three suspected tornadoes. The storms were blamed for the death of a 46-year-old homeless woman in Tulsa who died inside a drainage pipe, police said.

Tulsa Fire Department spokesperson Andy Little said the woman’s boyfriend told authorities the two had gone to sleep at the entrance of the drainage pipe and were awakened by the floodwaters. Up to 1.5 inches (3.81 centimeters) of rain fell in Tulsa in about one hour, National Weather Service meteorologist Robert Darby said.

“It wasn’t a whole lot. But when it came down, it was pretty rapid,” Darby said.

In Ohio, firefighters rescued two people who were trapped under a bridge Tuesday when a river began rising. The two people were sleeping around 8:45 a.m. when the Scioto River started to rise, preventing them from returning to shore, the Columbus Fire Department reported. A fire department boat was sent to rescue them. No injuries were reported.

In southern Ohio, Mindy Broughton rushed into her mobile home Tuesday morning as hail began and winds picked up at the RV Park where she lives near Hanging Rock.

Broughton and her fiance hunkered down as the mobile home quickly began rocking. Broughton said her fiance used his body to shield her as the winds raged outside.

“I said I think we may die today,” she said.

In a matter of seconds, the winds died down. When Broughton opened her mobile home door, she saw the RV Park littered with debris and overturned RVs. Luckily, Broughton said there was no one inside the overturned mobile homes.

Residents in Wisconsin were experiencing a spring snowstorm Tuesday afternoon that forecasters warned could dump more than a foot (30 centimeters) of snow in eastern parts of the state, including the Green Bay area. The state’s top election official, Meagan Wolfe, urged residents planning to vote in Tuesday’s presidential primaries to consider voting earlier in the day to avoid travel woes.

The National Weather Service said snowfall totals could range from 4 to 8 inches over central Wisconsin and 8 to 14 inches (20 to 35 centimeters) over eastern Wisconsin, while wind gusts of 30 mph to 50 mph (48 kph to 80 kph) will create very limited visibility and make travel difficult.

The storm will bring “a very heavy, wet snow,” meteorologist Scott Cultice with the weather service’s Green Bay office said.

“Just three weeks ago, we were in the 70s. So that kind of got people thinking spring is right around the corner — and here we’re in April and we’re getting a major snowstorm,” Cultice said. “As people say, ‘That’s springtime in Wisconsin.’”

More than 67,000 homes and businesses in Wisconsin had lost power as of Tuesday evening, according to

Severe storms also swept through far southwestern Indiana on Tuesday morning, toppling trees and causing power outages, leading several local school districts to cancel the day’s classes. More than 18,000 homes and businesses were without power shortly before noon Tuesday, including in Vanderburgh County, home to Evansville, Indiana’s third-largest city.

In West Virginia, a storm blew off part of a vacant building’s roof in Charleston, littering the street with bricks and closing the roadway to traffic Tuesday afternoon. Trees were dislodged from the earth by the roots and lay in roads, lawns and in some cases, on top of cars.

Gov. Jim Justice declared a state of emergency for several counties because of the storms, which he said had also caused flooding and power outages. Justice urged people to “exercise extreme caution.”

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency after severe storms swept through the state Tuesday morning.

“We have reports of substantial damage to a number of structures – and thankfully, as of right now we are not aware of any fatalities,” Beshear said in a statement. “We need all Kentuckians to stay weather aware.”

Another round of storms Tuesday afternoon led to multiple tornado warnings in Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio.

In Louisville on Tuesday night, Mayor Craig Greenberg reported “serious” storm damage in the nearby city of Prospect and throughout the county, but said no injuries or deaths had been reported. He said fire crews were checking on people street by street in the most impacted areas and that he had declared a county-wide state of emergency.

Beshear said Tuesday night on Facebook that he was headed back to Kentucky from an out of state trip and that he’d provide an update on storm response efforts on Wednesday.

All Kentucky executive branch state office buildings had closed Tuesday afternoon and some universities canceled in-person classes because of the storms.

Northeast of Cincinnati, part of Interstate 75 northeast of Cincinnati was blocked Tuesday afternoon when about a half-dozen power poles toppled in high winds near Wetherington, WLWT-TV reported.

Areas of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, West Virginia and Virginia were under tornado watches into Tuesday night. Flash flood warnings were issued in Pittsburgh and southern Ohio.

The National Weather Service confirmed a tornado in northeast Tennessee on Tuesday. A funeral home and a house were damaged in the town of Sunbright, a town of about 500 people, Matthew Brown, Morgan County’s 911 director, told The Associated Press. Power lines and trees were down, and some roads were closed, he said.

The utility company in Memphis, Tennessee, reported that about 40,000 homes and businesses lost power temporarily Tuesday morning after an electric substation was struck by lightning, which then affected two other substations.

The storm was expected to move into New England on Wednesday night into Thursday, with forecasts of 12 to 18 inches (30 to 46 centimeters) of snow in parts of New Hampshire and Maine and lesser amounts in other areas, the National Weather Service said. Wind gusts could reach 50 mph (80 kph) in some places, bringing the possibility of power outages.


Associated Press writers Ken Miller in Oklahoma City, Rick Callahan in Indianapolis, Leah Willingham in Charleston, West Virginia, John Raby in Cross Lanes, West Virginia, Adrian Sainz in Memphis, Tennessee, Beatrice Dupuy in New York, Rebecca Reynolds in Louisville, Kentucky, and Lisa Baumann in Bellingham, Washington, contributed to this report.

Popular in the Community


What's Hot