published Friday, June 6th, 2014

Winds, flooding blamed for 3 deaths in South

A man examines a small Cessna airplane that was flipped when strong winds struck in Jonesboro, Ark., on Thursday, June 5, 2014.
A man examines a small Cessna airplane that was flipped when strong winds struck in Jonesboro, Ark., on Thursday, June 5, 2014.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Strong winds and flooding led to the deaths of at least three people in the South on Thursday as powerful thunderstorms moved through several states.

In Arkansas, two people were killed as strong winds toppled trees. Craighead County Coroner Toby Emerson said one man died in Jonesboro when a tree fell on his home, while Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokesman Brandon Morris said another person was killed when a tree fell on a van in in the town of Black Rock.

In southern Tennessee, a 72-year-old man died Thursday morning when his vehicle was swept downstream as he apparently tried to cross a flooded roadway, according to the Highway Patrol.

WSMV-TV said a search was underway in Hickman County, Tennessee, for a 6- or 7-year-old child missing after a car became stuck in water Thursday afternoon.

Alabama and Georgia were also in the path of the storms.

About 30,000 people were without power in Shelby County, Tennessee, on Thursday afternoon. There were reports of downed trees and power lines, blocking some roads.

The storms damaged numerous homes and businesses in Arkansas, and strong winds blew over a freight train on a Union Pacific line, blocking U.S. 49 in the northeast part of the state.

"Right now the issue is the cargo boxes that are causing the problem, those that have spilled out across the highway," Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said.

He said winds also blew over about a half-dozen tractor-trailers. No serious injuries or hazardous cargo were involved in those incidents.

Further north, the National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touched down outside Sioux Falls, South Dakota. No injuries were reported from that twister that resulted from a strong, isolated thunderstorm that dumped about an inch of rain within 20 minutes.

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