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Storm system deadly in Alabama, and throughout the South


Three people were killed by falling trees in Alabama as severe weather swept through the state. A seventy year-old man sitting in his truck in Talledega County was killed when a tree fell onto his vehicle. Local authorities say a forty three year-old man in Lauderdale County and a man in Huntsville also were killed by falling trees Friday. Many residents of Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas emerged Friday to find their homes and businesses damaged and trees toppled by the reported tornadoes. Tens of thousands were without power and some were also without water.

A Mississippi woman died inside her SUV after a rotted tree branch struck her vehicle, and in Arkansas a man drowned after he drove into high floodwaters. News outlets reported two people died in Tennessee when trees fell on them. A large storm system is taking aim at the Northeast, threatening heavy snow and coastal flooding after heavy winds and possible tornadoes damaged homes and buildings, left thousands without power and caused ten deaths in the South. A mix of snow, sleet and rain was expected across New England starting late Friday and lasting into Saturday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a winter storm warning.

Friday’s violent weather system spouted heavy winds and possible tornadoes in Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Kentucky brought heavy snow to parts of the Midwest. Rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow and strong winds were reported in Michigan and Indiana. Winds damaged buildings, toppled trees and overturned 18-wheelers in multiple states.

The National Weather Service in Louisville called the storm Friday "powerful and historic" with peak wind gusts between 60-80 miles per hour. More than a million utility customers in Kentucky, Tennessee and Michigan were without power Friday evening, according to The storm barreled Friday afternoon into the Detroit area, quickly covering streets and roads beneath a layer of snow. The weather service said some areas could see blizzard conditions with snowfall approaching 3 inches (8 centimeters) per hour. The Detroit Metropolitan Airport closed Friday evening because of rapidly deteriorating weather conditions. Detroit-based DTE Energy reported more than 130,000 customers lost power Friday evening. It was the latest slap after ice storms last week left more than 600,000 homes and businesses without power. The National Weather Service reported poor road conditions and numerous vehicle crashes across much of northwest Indiana because of heavy snowfall Friday afternoon. The storm system was turning toward New England, where a mix of snow, sleet and rain was expected to start Friday night and last into Saturday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a winter storm warning. There's a chance of coastal flooding in Massachusetts and Rhode Island and the storm could bring as much as 18 inches of snow to parts of New Hampshire and Maine. The storm will also bring strong winds that could cause power outages.

Pat Duggins is news director for Alabama Public Radio.
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