United States: Storms rolling east after hitting the south; 5 deaths reported

CALIFORNIA: A large storm system targeted the northeast on Friday, threatening heavy snowfall and coastal flooding after high winds and possible tornadoes damaged homes and buildings, left thousands without power, and caused five deaths across a wide swath of the South and Midwest.
Three people were killed by falling trees in Alabama as severe weather swept through the state. In Mississippi, a woman died inside her SUV after a rotting tree branch hit her vehicle and in Arkansas, a man drowned after driving through high floodwaters.
The storm system turned toward New England, where a mix of snow, sleet and rain was expected in the region from Friday evening through Saturday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a warning winter storm.
There is a risk of coastal flooding in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and the storm could bring up to 18 inches (45 centimeters) of snow to parts of New Hampshire and Maine. The storm will also bring strong winds with gusts of 40 to 50 mph (80 km/h), which could cause power outages.
Airport officials in Portland, Maine, canceled several flights Saturday ahead of the weather and some area libraries and businesses announced weekend closures. Still, with warmer weather expected to return by the end of the weekend, most New Englanders were taking the storm in stride.
It wasn’t the same story in California, where the weather system hit the state earlier in the week with up to 10 feet (three meters) of snow. Some residents of the mountains east of Los Angeles will likely be stuck at home for at least a week after the snowfall proved too much for most plows to handle.
Scores of residents in Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas emerged Friday to find their homes and businesses damaged and trees knocked down by the reported tornadoes. Tens of thousands of people were without electricity and some also without water.
In Alabama, a 70-year-old man sitting in his truck in Talledega County was killed when a tree fell on his vehicle. A 43-year-old man from Lauderdale County and a man from Huntsville were also killed by falling trees on Friday, local authorities said.
In Texas, winds downed trees, ripped the roof off a grocery store in Little Elm, north of Dallas, and flipped four 18-wheelers along U.S. Highway 75. Minor injuries were reported, the report said. the police.
Winds of nearly 80 mph (130 km/h) were recorded near the Fort Worth suburb of Blue Mound. The roof of an apartment building in the suburb of Hurst was blown away, Michael Roberts told KDFW-TV.
“The whole building started shaking… The whole ceiling was gone,” Roberts said. “It got really crazy.”
Heavy rains were also reported in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas, causing flooding in both states.
In southwest Arkansas, Betty Andrews told KSLA-TV that she and her husband took refuge in the bathroom of their mobile home as a tornado moved.
“It was very scary. I opened the front door to look outside and saw him coming. I grabbed Kevin and went into the tub,” Andrews said. “We hunkered down and I said a few prayers until it passed.”
They were fine, but the house suffered significant damage and the couple were temporarily trapped in the bathroom until a neighbor removed the debris from outside the door.
The storm rolled into the Detroit area on Friday afternoon, quickly blanketing streets and roads in a blanket of snow. The weather service said some areas could experience blizzard conditions with snowfall approaching three inches (eight centimeters) per hour.
Detroit-based DTE Energy reported that more than 106,000 customers lost power Friday night. It was the last slap after the ice cream storms last week left more than 600,000 homes and businesses without power.
Hail and high winds were reported in Oklahoma. Elsewhere in the Midwest, Minnesota and Wisconsin were expecting areas of freezing fog with less than a quarter mile of visibility through the weekend, the weather service said. In North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, highways could receive up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of snow and wind gusts of 45 mph (72 km/h) Sunday and Monday.


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