A powerful storm swept across the South on Friday, killing at least 12 people and leaving hundreds of thousands of customers without power, officials urged residents to use caution as downed power lines and uprooted trees pose lingering threats.
Heavy rain, strong winds and tornadoes damaged homes and businesses in Alabama, Arkansas, the Carolinas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Kentucky was hit particularly hard by the storms, which killed at least five people in the state and left about 370,000 customers without power as of Saturday, Gov. Andy Beshear said at a news conference. In Tennessee, nearly 100,000 customers were without power as of Saturday. According to the resistance.us.
Mr. Beshir said. Power outages are affecting water systems, with more than 1,800 residents under a boil water advisory, he said.
“Once in power, it will be a multi-day event,” he said.
Although clear skies and sunshine are forecast for the weekend, Mr.
He advised people to use only generators outside and treat every downed power line as if it were live. He said more trees will fall because the ground is “very wet, very wet.”
Five people died in the storms, Mr. Beshear said: A 68-year-old man in Simpson County; 23-year-old man in Edmonson County; 63 years old in Logan County; 84 years old in Bath County; and a 41-year-old woman in Fayette County. He did not say how they died.
Several people were killed by falling trees, including three in Alabama.
A 70-year-old man was killed by a falling tree in Talladega County, Ala., while sitting in his truck, the local coroner said. A 43-year-old man from Lexington, Ala., was killed by a falling tree, said Lauderdale County, Ala., coroner Kim Edghill Jones. And in Huntsville, Ala., a man was clearing logs when a tree fell on him just before 2 p.m., police said. The man, whose name has not been released, was pronounced dead at the scene.
In Tennessee, the state’s emergency management agency confirmed two weather-related deaths. Maggie Hannon, the agency’s director of communications, did not say how they died.
In Arkansas, a man drove through a flooded road and was swept into a nearby river while trying to visit his grandson in Scott County, authorities said.
The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said one person died after a tree fell on a vehicle in Yazoo County, Miss. said. The severe weather damaged dozens of homes, a community college and an apartment complex, the agency said.
The The Tennessee Highway Patrol said A sergeant was briefly trapped in a patrol car after several trees fell in Meigs County. The sergeant escaped unhurt.
Wind gusts reached 79 mph in Tennessee on Friday, the National Weather Service said. “If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to be in a tropical storm, this is it,” the service said He said on Twitter On Friday.
Zach Taylor, a meteorologist with the Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center, said the region will see much calmer and drier weather over the weekend.
“This will give people there time to dry up and deal with rescue efforts based on downed trees and power lines,” said Mr. Taylor said.
As the planet warms, there is evidence that the US can expect unusually severe storms to hit in new places or at unexpected times of the year.
While some questions are hard to answer — like whether this could mean more hurricanes in the future — scientists say the risks of increasingly wild weather make it more urgent for cities and states to take action to protect people and property.