CALIFORNIA, March 4 (AP) A massive storm system hit the Northeast Friday, threatening snow and coastal flooding after strong winds and a possible tornado damaged homes and buildings, leaving thousands without shelter. electricity and killed five people over a large area. South and Midwest.
Three people were killed by a fallen tree as severe weather swept through Alabama. In Mississippi, a woman died in her SUV after a rotting tree branch struck her vehicle; in Arkansas, a man drowned after driving into high flood waters.
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The storm system turned toward New England, where snow, sleet and rain were expected to begin Friday night and continue through Saturday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a winter storm warning.
Coastal flooding is possible in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and the storm could bring as much as 18 inches (45 centimeters) of snow to parts of New Hampshire and Maine. The storm will also bring strong winds of 40 to 50 mph (80 km/h), which could cause power outages.
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Airport officials in Portland, Maine, canceled several flights Saturday ahead of warmer weather, and some libraries and businesses in the area announced weekend closures. Still, with warmer weather expected by the end of the weekend, most New Englanders are taking the storm in stride.
It was a different story in California, where a weather system hit the state earlier this week with 10 feet (3 meters) of snow. As it turns out, the snowfall is too much for most plows to handle, and some residents in the mountains east of Los Angeles may be stuck at home for at least a week.
Many residents in Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky, Arkansas and Texas found their homes and businesses damaged and trees toppled by reported tornadoes on Friday. Tens of thousands of people were without power and some without water.
In Talledga County, Alabama, a 70-year-old man was sitting in his truck when a tree fell on his vehicle and was killed. A 43-year-old man in Lauderdale County and a man in Huntsville were also killed Friday by fallen trees, local authorities said.
In Texas, high winds knocked down trees at a grocery store in Little Elm, north of Dallas, knocked off the roof and overturned four 18-wheel trucks along U.S. Route 75. Minor injuries were reported, police said.
Winds of nearly 80 mph (130 km/h) were recorded near Blue Hill on the outskirts of Fort Worth. Resident Michael Roberts told KDFW-TV that the roof of an apartment building in the suburb of Hearst was blown off.
“The whole building started shaking … the whole ceiling was gone,” Roberts said. “It’s really crazy.”
Heavy rain was also reported in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas, leading to flooding in both states.
In southwestern Arkansas, Betty Andrews told KSLA-TV that she and her husband hid in the bathroom of their mobile home as the tornado passed by.
“It was pretty scary. I opened the front door and looked out and saw it coming. I grabbed Kevin and went into the tub,” Andrews said. “We crouched down and I said some prayers until it passed.”
They were fine, but the home was badly damaged and the couple was temporarily trapped in the bathroom until a neighbor cleared the debris outside the door.
Streets and roads were quickly blanketed with snow as the storm swept through the Detroit area Friday afternoon. Blizzard conditions are possible in some areas, with snowfall close to three inches (eight centimeters) an hour, the Bureau of Meteorology said.
Detroit-based DTE Energy reported that more than 106,000 customers were without power Friday night. It’s the latest slap in the face after last week’s ice storm knocked out power to more than 600,000 homes and businesses.
Hail and strong winds were reported in Oklahoma. Elsewhere in the Midwest, Minnesota and Wisconsin, freezing fog and visibility of less than a quarter mile are expected through the weekend, the weather service said. In North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota, highways could receive up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of snow on Sunday and Monday, with wind gusts of up to 45 mph (72 kph). (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the body of content may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)