Deadly snow-generating storms and tornadoes are rolling through southern states and moving toward the northeastern US.
Storms that brought tornadoes and heavy rain swept through parts of the southern United States, killing at least nine people and leaving more than a million customers without power, according to authorities.
The National Weather Service said the powerful storm had largely left the south of the country by late Friday and moved into the northeastern U.S. where it was predicted to bring heavy snow and sleet from southeastern Michigan east to the state of New York. Parts of central New York and southern New England could see more than a foot of snow on Saturday afternoon.
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said at least two tornadoes, caused by the storm system, passed through the western part of his state on Friday.
The governor said on social media that at least three people died in the storm, but he gave no further details.
A fourth person was killed by the storm in Kentucky, a woman who died when a tree fell on the car she was in, the Fayette County coroner’s office said.
Aside from the tornadoes, Beshear said thunderstorms in Kentucky generated winds of 129 km (80 miles) per hour, which are “strong enough to blow tractor-trailers off the road.”
Beshear had declared a state of emergency before the storm, and on Friday night Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg followed suit due to the severe storms, high winds, widespread damage and danger to life and property.
“I encourage everyone in our community to exercise extreme caution this evening and for the next several days: Do not drive through standing water, approach downed power lines, or do anything that could endanger anyone’s life,” Greenberg said. in a Facebook post.
‘Powerful and historic’
The National Weather Service in Louisville called the storm “powerful and historic” on Friday with peak wind gusts between 96-128 km (60-80 mph) per hour.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey said on social media that three people died during the storm in her state, though she did not provide details.
In Arkansas, a man died when floodwaters swept him into a swollen river after driving down a flooded street, according to the Scott County Sheriff’s Department.
In Mississippi, Gov. Tate Reeves said on social media Friday that overnight storms that brought strong winds had led to the death of one person, though he did not provide further details.
More than 1.4 million homes and businesses were without power in storm-hit states, according to data from PowerOutage.us.
Violent storms are common in the southern U.S. during the winter months as warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico rises and collides with colder air streaming down from the north, meteorologists say.