(Photo by David Jenkins, Staff)
CIRCLE CITY-- Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes produced strong winds that killed at least three people in Missouri, including a Stoddard County man whose mobile home blew over.
A 42-year-old man was killed when winds knocked over his mobile home near Circle City, Stoddard County Sheriff Carl Hefner said.
About 6 p.m. Sunday the Stoddard County Sheriff's Department along with EMS and Essex Fire Department responded to county road 544 in the Essex area in reference to a mobile home home that had been blown over due to high winds. The man, whose name has not been released pending notification of family members, occuppied the home with his 12-year-old son, who was injured and transported to Missouri Southern Healthcare. At press time, his injuries appeared not to be life-threatening.
A second death was reported in Braggadocio in Pemiscot County, the state emergency management office said, but no details were available.
Another man was killed when a tree fell on him as he walked along a trail in Castlewood State Park near Ballwin in St. Louis County, a spokeswoman for St. Louis County police told the Post-Dispatch.
The National Weather Service in Paducah reported that a tornado touched down in Dunklin and Pemiscot counties. A tornado was spotted at approximately 6:50 p.m. just south of Kennett and traveled 40 mph east through the cities of Hayti and Caruthersville.
A state of emergency was declared in Caruthersville after a tornado caused heavy damage there.
Caruthersville Mayor Diane Sayre said there were no known fatalities in the city of 6,700, but search and rescue operations were under way and the city had no power or water. Randal Lee, a Sheriff's Department dispatcher, said a tornado wiped out part of the town.
A spokesperson with the Pemiscot County Sheriff's Department said early today damage was still being assessed and the power outage continued. A mobile command has also been set up at the fire department.
No damage or injuries were reported to Mississippi County, New Madrid County and Scott County Sheriff's Departments or to Sikeston, Charleston and East Prairie Police Departments.
Fifteen deaths were reported in western Tennessee, including a family of four. A clothing store collapsed in southern Illinois, killing one man and injuring several others.
Robin Brownlee, 43, of Collinsville, was inside the K&G Clothing Store in Fairview Heights, Ill., just east of St. Louis, when the roof collapsed Sunday.
''The whole building started to shake,'' Brownlee told the St. Louis Post-
Dispatch. ''Everyone was running and screaming. I couldn't believe it.''
In Tennessee, eight people died near Newbern in Dyer County and seven in neighboring Gibson County, local emergency officials said.
Gibson County emergency officials set up a temporary emergency command post, triage center and morgue in Rutherford, where three people were killed.
A family of four died in nearby Bradford, Gibson County emergency official Bryan Cathey said.
''Our resources were just overwhelmed,'' he said.
A twister carved a path through a cluster of homes near the Jimmy Dean Foods plant north of Newbern, where several victims died. The plant, which makes breakfast sausages and other food products, was also damaged, a security guard said.
In Fayette County, just east of Memphis, a home was thrown from its foundation, a grain silo was destroyed and a mobile home overturned, The Tennessean reported.
The National Weather Service in Memphis preliminarily reported tornadoes in five counties in western Tennessee -- Dyer, Carroll, Haywood, Gibson and Fayette -- and officials said the storms caused extensive damage.
A Kentucky county declared a state of emergency early Monday after rescue workers struggled to get to rural areas because of power lines and trees that blocked roadways.
''We're concerned that there's a lot of hidden back roads that are hard to get to,'' said Matt Snorton, Christian County's emergency management director.
He said at least three dozen people were injured in what officials believe was a tornado. At least 30 people sought medical care at the emergency room in Hopkinsville, he said, and a couple were considered seriously injured.
Half a dozen tornadoes and softball-sized hail were reported in northeast Arkansas, where about half of the town of Marmaduke had evacuated because of gas leaks and other concerns, police said.
Severe thunderstorms also struck Indianapolis as thousands of fans departed a free John Mellencamp concert that was part of the NCAA's Final Four weekend. Concertgoers scrambled for cover as tornado sirens sounded and sheets of heavy rain lashed the sidewalks and streets. Meteorologists were trying to confirm reports of a tornado downtown.
''Thank God nobody was hurt,'' Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson told WTHR-
TV. ''We're very grateful for that.''
Southwest of Indianapolis, in Mitchell, a pontoon boat was thrown 500 feet into a cemetery and a woman suffered a broken arm when a tree was blown into an apartment complex, said police dispatcher Larry Tyler.
In Ohio, the storms ripped off the roof and chimney from a home in Warren County northeast of Cincinnati. Downed trees and power lines were widespread.
''In every county in southwest Ohio, there has been some type of damage,'' said Myron Padgett, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Wilmington.