The Latest: 50,000 power outages reported in West Virginia

February 24, 2019 - 4:52 pm

COLUMBUS, Miss. (AP) — The Latest on severe weekend weather in the South (all times local):

3:15 p.m.

The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management says the number of power outages from high winds has risen to more than 50,000 customers in that Appalachian state.

Much of the state is under a wind advisory through Sunday evening.

The National Weather Service says some areas of the state are expected to have winds of 25 to 35 mph (40-55 kph) with gusts up to 65 mph (105 kph). The weather service also says the high winds are expected to knock down trees and power lines and could make travel difficult.

The state is also cleaning up after heavy rains. High water has begun to recede, but officials are still clearing away mud slides in some areas.

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2:30 p.m.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency says early damage reports indicate that at least 300 homes, 190 roads and bridges and 30 businesses in 20 counties were damaged by weekend storms.

A news release Sunday notes that another 15 counties are still surveying damage — including Lowndes County, where a tornado hit, killing a woman, injuring 12 people and causing widespread destruction. The agency says the National Weather Service has confirmed that another tornado hit Tishomingo County, damaging two homes, two bridges and 22 roads.

Grenada County reports 100 homes, 22 businesses and six roads damaged; 69 homes and 12 roads were damaged in Clay County; 60 homes in Lee County, 54 homes and 20 roads in Calhoun County; and 35 homes and 29 roads in Tishomingo County.

The Red Cross has shelters open in Lee, Lowndes and Tallahatchie counties.

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11:45 a.m.

The West Virginia Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management says officials have evacuated 11 families in the southern part of the state from low-lying areas due to flooding from heavy rains.

A statement from the agency says Wayne County emergency management agencies are in the field Sunday assessing property impacts and shelter needs.

High wind warnings remain in effect Sunday for much of the state, with gusts of 40-50 mph expected. WCHS-TV reports more than 21,000 Appalachian Power customers are without power Sunday afternoon.

Officials say storms and heavy rain led to a few mudslides, many of which have already been cleared. Water is still over some roadways, but has begun to recede.

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10:30 a.m.

Officials in some eastern Kentucky counties are declaring emergencies due to heavy flooding and mudslides.

Magoffin County issued a declaration late Saturday asking residents to stay off the roads unless in an emergency and to seek higher ground if necessary.

Magoffin County Judge Executive Matt Wireman told WYMT-TV that residents of Salyersville Nursing and Rehab were evacuated to a school building due to high water.

The station reports Martin, Jackson and Johnson counties have also declared states of emergency due to flooding.

Kentucky transportation officials are preparing to close a portion of U.S. 23 in Floyd County due to an impending mudslide. The agency says they are letting northbound vehicle pass one at a time, but they are in the process of turning one of the southbound lanes into a northbound lane.

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10:15 a.m.

The mayor of a Mississippi city says 12 people injured when a tornado swept through. Mayor Robert Smith Sr. says he was told that the injuries don't appear major.

The injuries were in addition to one fatality reported earlier.

Smith says a woman and her husband were renovating a house, and when the husband went to get them something to eat, the building collapsed and killed her. She was identified as 41-year-old Ashley Glynell Pounds of Tupelo.

City spokesman Joe Dillon says the tornado also seriously damaged a school and two community center buildings. Smith says warehouses and other commercial buildings were damaged.

The mayor says power outages are down from 6,000 immediately after the tornado to 1,500 to 2,000. But he says it will probably take until Thursday to get power back to everyone.

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9:40 a.m.

Authorities in Tennessee say a man has died after his vehicle became submerged in high water fed by heavy rains in a weekend storm.

The Knox County Sheriff's office says emergency crews were dispatched early Sunday to the flooded roadway and several agencies worked together to get the man out of his vehicle and take him to a hospital, but he was later pronounced dead. His identity wasn't released.

Jeffrey Bagwell of Rural Metro told the Knoxville News Sentinel that witnesses said they tried yelling at the man as he drove into the water, which covered most of his car.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Department of Transportation says a portion of Interstate 24 in Davidson County is closed due to a mud slide. Video from news outlets shows dirt and mud covering all eastbound lanes near Exit 42.

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7:30 a.m.

Officials in eastern Mississippi say at least one person has died after a weekend tornado struck the community.

The mayor's office in Columbus, Mississippi, confirmed the death Sunday in a statement on Facebook, citing information from Lowndes County Coroner Greg Merchant.

The statement said 41-year-old Ashley Glynell Pounds of Tupelo was with three other people in a building that collapsed in the storm Saturday evening. It said Pounds was taken to a hospital and died in surgery. The statement gave no information on the condition of the others in the building.

The tornado smashed into a commercial district in the small Mississippi city, shattering businesses as severe storms raked the South on a weekend of drenching rains and a rising flood threat.

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12:01 a.m.

A tornado smashed into a commercial district in the small Mississippi city of Columbus, shattering businesses as severe storms raked the South on a weekend of drenching rains and a rising flood threat.

The tornado that shattered businesses the east Mississippi city was confirmed on radar, said meteorologist Anna Wolverton with the National Weather Service in Jackson. She told The Associated Press that experts would be headed Sunday to the city of about 23,000 people to gauge the tornado's intensity.

There were no immediate reports of any deaths or injuries.

Elsewhere around the South, homes, highways, and bridges have been flooded or put out of commission by the heavy rains. News outlets report that water rescues have been performed in some Middle Tennessee counties. Flash flood warnings and watches remained in place throughout the South.

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