The Commercial Appeal

Storms roll east after slamming Texas, La.

- Ken Miller and Stefanie Dazio

A large storm system spouting heavy winds and possible tornadoes in Texas, Louisiana and Kentucky damaged homes and buildings, downed trees, left thousands without power and was blamed for the deaths of two people Friday as it marched eastward, threatenin­g heavy snow in the Midwest and Northeast.

After spawning likely tornadoes overnight in Texas and Louisiana that damaged a university campus, the storms threatened the Tennessee and Ohio valleys with high winds and more tornadoes as they moved toward New England, officials said.

A 70-year-old man sitting in his truck as strong winds blew through Talledega County, Alabama, was killed Friday when a tree fell onto the vehicle. Coroner Shaddix Murphy said it happened about 11:30 a.m. as a storm system came through the area.

In west central Mississipp­i, a person was killed inside a vehicle Friday after a tree, toppled by strong winds, struck the car. The Mississipp­i Emergency Management Agency has not identified the person but said the death is considered weather-related.

Parts of southweste­rn Michigan and northern Indiana saw rain, freezing rain, sleet, snow and strong wind gusts Friday, according to Indiana Michigan Power. The National Weather Service issued tornado warnings in parts of Indiana, Alabama and western Georgia.

In Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear warned of possible tornadoes and 55to 65-mph wind gusts after rain moves through the state. Several school districts closed in anticipati­on.

Power provider Ameren Illinois reported more than 18,000 customers without service in the central part of the state after storms packing wind gusts as high as 69 mph swept through the region.

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