Violent Storm Heads Toward East Coast
5 Killed as System Lashes Plains, South
KANSAS CITY, Mo., April 14 — A severe weather system blamed for five deaths plowed eastward out of the Plains on Saturday, leaving snow piled more than a foot deep and rattling the Gulf states with violent thunderstorms.
The Northeast prepared for possible coastal flooding.
The storm blew across the Plains on Friday, leaving snow in Kansas and raking Texas with high wind, including at least two tornadoes.
“I felt my house start shaking like the wind, and I ran in here and grabbed my little girl,” Amanda Rymer, 21, said in Haltom City, Tex. “As soon as I moved her, the roof fell in right where she was standing.”
The storm tore off roofs in Rymer’s neighborhood and destroyed porches and garages. About a dozen tractor-trailers were blown over.
A tornado was reported Friday southwest of Fort Worth and caused minor damage, according to the National Weather Service. More wind damage to power lines, trees and roofs was reported to the east, in Dallas and Rockwall counties, but meteorologists had yet to confirm Saturday whether tornadoes formed there.
One man was killed in Fort Worth when a pile of lumber on his truck fell on him during the storm, and a police officer in Irving, Tex., died when his patrol car slid on wet pavement and struck a utility pole, authorities said.
Three people were killed in Kansas in traffic accidents on highways covered with ice and slush, police said. Up to 15 inches of snow fell in southwestern Kansas.
By Saturday afternoon, the system was spreading rain from Louisiana to Virginia and across much of the Ohio Valley. Lines of strong thunderstorms rolled across Louisiana and Mississippi into northern Alabama, and the National Weather Service posted tornado warnings for wide areas of Mississippi and some parts of Alabama.
The weather system was forecast to strengthen when it reaches the East Coast on Sunday and form a nor’easter, a storm that follows the coast northward, with northeasterly wind driving waves and heavy rain.
“This is very odd for this time of year,” National Weather Service meteorologist John Koch said Saturday in New York. “This is something that you would expect to see more in the middle of winter.”
A flood watch was posted for the New York City region as the weath- er service forecast two to four inches of rain Sunday with wind gusting to 50 mph. Snow and sleet are possible inland, Koch said.
The storm, which brought rain, strong wind and even heavy snow to the Plains and Texas on Friday, knocked down tree limbs in this Fort Worth neighborhood.