More storms sack South, blizzard hits Wisconsin

Sunday, April 13th 2008, 6:17 am
By: News 9

NASHVILLE, Tennessee  -- Another round of severe weather raked the storm-weary South with rain, hail and high winds Friday, damaging homes and injuring at least five people in Tennessee and Kentucky.

Donald Perry walks by what's left of a truck, horse trailer and his garage in Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, Friday.

A mother and two children were hurt when strong thunderstorms moved through southern Kentucky in the early morning, knocking over their trailer near Bowling Green. Tara Duvall, a spokeswoman for Warren County Emergency Management, said that all three were hospitalized.

"Apparently, the trailer rolled twice and fell apart," Duvall said.

Charles Foster, who lives nearby, said he helped pull one of the children from the wreckage.

"I ran up there and helped. There was a little girl, 6 or 7 years old, standing by the wall that had crumbled and had the mother and little boy pinned under the trailer," Foster said. "The little girl looked OK."

Homes were also reported destroyed in Kentucky's Wayne county. In Tennessee's Lawrence County, a possible tornado damaged 56 homes, felled trees and littered yards with debris.

In northern Giles County, power lines were knocked down, a dozen homes were damaged, and three people were injured when trees fell on an ambulance, emergency management officials said.

Wind or rain damage apparently caused a roof to collapse at an apartment complex in Hoover, Alabama, on Friday evening, forcing the evacuation of about 20 units, said Mark Kelly of the Jefferson County Emergency Management Agency. No injuries were reported.

The damaging storms come in the same week as heavy rains that flooded parts of Tennessee and two months after tornadoes killed 33 people in the state.

In northern Wisconsin, schools closed, thousands lost power because of trees falling on power lines, and snow plows were back at work Friday as blizzard-like conditions hit.

Keith Kesler, Douglas County's emergency management coordinator, said that as much as 9 inches of snow had fallen near Superior, with wind gusting to 62 mph.

"Tree limbs are flying through the air," he said. "It is a little unusual for April to get hit like this. Winter is winter. It is getting awfully long this year."

The record for April snowfall in the area near Duluth, Minnesota, occurred a year ago, when 12.1 inches fell April 7.

"Springtime in Superior, I guess," said Steve Erickson, 59, whose home lost power for about two hours Friday. "I gassed up my snowblower in anticipation, but the stuff is so heavy and slushy that I don't know if it is going to blow it or not."

Recent heavy rains have swelled the Mississippi River so much that workers in Louisiana began opening a major spillway Friday to divert river water through Lake Pontchartrain and into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Bonnet Carre spillway, about 30 miles above New Orleans, was being opened to guard communities against flooding, ease pressure on levees and make for safer navigation conditions for ships and barges.

In Missouri, where heavy rain fell Wednesday and Thursday, authorities reported the death of a 14-year-old boy in Shannon County. Kenneth Davidson was swept away by rushing water Thursday while trying to cross a normally shallow arm of Loggers Lake, officials said. Emergency crews found his body tangled in roots.

In Oklahoma, which has been beset in recent days by tornadoes, severe storms and flooding, Gov. Brad Henry declared a state of emergency Friday -- the first step toward seeking federal assistance.

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