Nine people have died in five southern states after a series of storms with damaging winds lashed the region Thursday and Friday, officials said.
Three people died in Kentucky on Friday, one in Tennessee, three in Alabama, and one person was found dead in Arkansas, officials said. One person in Mississippi died in severe weather Thursday.
More than 750,000 homes and businesses in Tennessee and Kentucky states were without power Friday evening, according to outage tracking website Poweoutage.us.
“We have already lost way too many people due to flooding, tornadoes and other weather events, so we want everybody to be safe today,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said at a Friday morning news conference.
He signed a state of emergency to help get assistance to where it is needed, including putting 400 National Guard members on notice.
The deaths in Kentucky happened in Simpson, Edmonson and Logan counties, Beshear said.
In Humphreys County, Tennessee, a man was found dead in a car with a tree on it Friday, the sheriff’s office said.
The top of the tree fell around 50 feet and landed on the front of the vehicle. There were straight-line winds of 50 to 60 mph at the time, the office said.
The three deaths in Alabama involved falling trees or falling tree limbs Friday in Talladega, Lexington and Huntsville, officials said.
In Yazoo County, Mississippi, a person was killed when a tree fell on a vehicle Thursday, according to the agency, known as MEMA.
In Scott County, Arkansas, a man was found dead Friday morning near a truck submerged in floodwaters, the sheriff’s office said.
More than 14 million people were under high-wind warnings in eastern Tennessee, most of Kentucky and in parts of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio on Friday evening, according to the National Weather Service. Wind advisories covered other areas, from Georgia to Pennsylvania.
Some places in Tennessee saw winds on par with a tropical storm Friday, the weather service in Nashville said. Clarksville saw sustained winds of 40 mph and Springfield had 54 mph. (A tropical storm starts at 39 mph sustained.)
Nashville Electric Service said that it had 115,000 homes and businesses without power Friday evening because of morning storms. Around 48 high transmission lines were down, it said, and 18 power poles were broken.
A Tennessee Highway Patrol sergeant was investigating a crash Friday when trees fell on his car, briefly trapping him, the patrol said. The officer was not injured.
A tornado was reported in McCracken County in western Kentucky. There was damage, but the sheriff’s department said deputies went door-to-door and found no injuries.
The fire department in Lexington, Kentucky, said that almost every truck was out on runs Friday night, including for downed power lines and people trapped in elevators.