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3 dead in storm packing ice, snow, tornadoes

SHUQUALAK, Miss. — A strong spring storm that socked the Midwest with ice and heavy, wet snow made its way east, raking the South with tornadoes Thursday. Three deaths were blamed on the rough weather and thousands of people were without power.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said Thursday one person died and several people were injured after a reported tornado struck Kemper County in the eastern part of the state.

Tabatha Lott, a dispatcher in Noxubee County, said there were "numerous reports of injuries" in Shuqualak, though it wasn't immediately clear how many. Flynn also said there are reports of damaged buildings and many power outages.

The T-shaped system swept across the nation's midsection Wednesday night and pummeled parts of Missouri. The National Weather Service said Thursday an EF-2 tornado appears to have damaged dozens of homes in the St. Louis suburb Hazelwood. Tornadoes in that category generally have winds of 113 to 157 mph.

The line of severe storms was trudging east toward Georgia, where the four-day Masters golf tournament is under way at Augusta National. Severe storms were forecast overnight.

Late Thursday, Tennessee authorities declared a state of emergency after a possible tornado was reported in Monroe County in the eastern part of the state.

In Missouri and Illinois, weather service crews were still were assessing whether tornadoes were to blame for other damage, meteorologist Mark Fuchs said. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency shortly after the storm swept through eastern Missouri, bringing hail, up to 2 ½ inches of rain and strong winds.

Utility workers scrambled to restore power to more than 23,000 Missouri homes and businesses. One worker was electrocuted and died, officials said.

A third death was reported in the Nebraska Panhandle, where a woman died Tuesday in a snowstorm after her car broke down a mile from home.

Fuchs said the storm, which affected numerous states, was the result of a clash of warm and cold air — typical for spring.

3 dead in storm packing ice, snow, tornadoes 04/11/13 [Last modified: Friday, April 12, 2013 12:24am]

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