At least five people are dead as a storm system that stretched from Texas to the Canadian Maritime provinces roars eastward across the central U.S., spawning tornadoes and floods and leaving a path of destruction in its wake from the Upper Midwest to Appalachia.
In southwestern Michigan, the body of a 48-year-old man was found floating in floodwaters Sunday in Kalamazoo, city Public Safety Lt. David Thomas said. Police were withholding the release of his name until notifying relatives.
Thomas said the death didn’t appear suspicious but the cause wasn’t known. An autopsy was planned as early as Monday. Kalamazoo had been hard-hit by flooding from last week’s heavy rains and melting snow.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin said late Saturday two people died in the western part of state due to “severe weather events” as the storm that also included strong winds, hail and heavy rain slammed the region.
“Please take weather watches/warnings seriously, and stay safe,” Bevin said on Twitter.
In rural, south central Kentucky, 79-year-old Dallas Jane Combs died after a suspected tornado hit her Adairville home Saturday evening, Logan County Sheriff’s Department told television station WKRN. Sheriff officials said Combs was inside the home when it collapsed on her. Combs was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities say Combs’ husband was outside the house when the unconfirmed tornado hit and he sustained minor injuries.
In northeast Arkansas, an 83-year-old man was killed after high winds toppled a trailer home. Clay County Sheriff Terry Miller said in a Facebook post that Albert Foster died Saturday night after the home was blown into a pond in Knobel.
Storm-related damage also was reported in Middle Tennessee, where Fox 17 in Nashville reported extensive damage to homes and vehicles. Fox 17 added that at least a dozen homes were damaged in one Montgomery County subdivision.
The National Weather Service’s office in Nashville said a storm survey team has confirmed EF-2 tornado damage from winds of 120 mph on the east side of Clarksville near Interstate 24 and Rossview Road.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said that her “thoughts and prayers” were with those affected by the “horrible” damage.
In Mississippi County, Arkansas, crews were cleaning up after a confirmed tornado touched down in the town of Keiser, located about 50 miles northwest of Memphis.
“It’s going to be devastating for a lot of the people because it is a small community but it is a very tight-knit community. So everyone been out, we’ve had people going door to door, checking on their neighbors, in the areas that they could because we advised them not to because of the downed power lines,” Keiser Police Chief Mike Griffin told KAIT.
The storms were caused by a system associated with a cold front moving east, which caused flood watches and warnings to be issued across multiple states as of Sunday morning, while a wind advisory remained in effect for nearly all of Lower Michigan. Heavy rain also spread into the Northeast, which caused greater flooding fears.
“It’s right along that line we’ve seen the most rain activity here throughout the weekend,” Fox News Meteorologist Adam Klotz said Sunday on “Fox & Friends Weekend.”
Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens signed an executive order earlier Saturday declaring a state of emergency ahead of the anticipated storms and flooding in parts of southern Missouri. The order activates the resources of the Missouri National Guard and ensures state resources are available in the event of weather damage.
A levee breach along the Kankakee River in northwestern Indiana had local officials urging about 30 homeowners to evacuate.
The Ohio River is expected to reach 60.6 feet in Cincinnati by Sunday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
The expected river crest would easily make it the worst flooding Greater Cincinnati has seen since March 5, 1997, when the river hit 64.7 feet, Fox 19 reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.