Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Earth Science News .

Subscribe to our free daily newsletters

Tornadoes sweep southern US, killing 52

by Staff Writers
Memphis, Tennessee (AFP) Feb 6, 2008
Dozens of tornadoes sliced across southern US states ripping apart homes and shopping malls, killing at least 52 people and injuring hundreds more, officials said Wednesday.

Twenty-eight people were killed in Tennessee, 13 in Arkansas, seven in Kentucky and four in Alabama, officials in those states said.

US media reported hundreds of people were injured as buildings collapsed and cars, trees and debris were whipped by winds.

"I've seen tornadoes on the ground and I've seen them in the air, but this was different. This one was wide, a massive funnel," Jean Byrd of Mason, Tennesee, a town of just over 1,000 residents, told AFP.

With a sigh of relief, Byrd added: "It touched down just after it passed our house. We were lucky."

President George W. Bush offered prayers and disaster relief. "Prayers can help, and so can the government," Bush said in Washington. "I do want the people in those states that the American people are standing with them."

More than 50 tornadoes touched down as a series of rare winter thunderstorms rolled through the region late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

In Tennessee, twisters knocked down a police radio tower, punched holes in a shopping mall, damaged a hangar at the Memphis airport, and ravaged a university campus, emergency officials said.

Overall, 149 people were injured in the state, said Julie Oaks of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.

"That'll probably be going up through out the day. We have widespread damage across the state," she said.

Students at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, heroically rescued classmates trapped in the dead of night after two campus dormitories collapsed, university president David Dockery said.

Fifty-one students were treated in hospital, including some with extensive injuries. But no one was killed, even though 1,200 students were on campus at the time.

"It's an amazing thing," Dockery told a press conference.

The campus has already been rebuilt once after a 2002 tornado caused 2.6 million dollars in damage. Now, "we are estimating that the damage is at least 15 times what that was at that time," he said.

Elsewhere in Tennessee, the Red Cross moved 50 people trapped at a retirement center in Madison County to a shelter, officials said.

But a huge fire that blazed overnight at a storm-damaged gas pumping station northeast of Nashville, part of a 4,200-mile (6,760-kilometer) line pumping gas through four southern states, had burned itself out.

In neighboring Kentucky, three people were killed in a trailer park in Muhlenberg County, and four others died in Allen County, Buddy Rogers of the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management told AFP.

In Arkansas at least 13 people were killed Tuesday by tornadoes that tore through the state, injuring dozens and destroying houses and businesses in a number of towns.

Four tornadoes were confirmed by the National Weather Service, and another five were reported but unconfirmed.

Downed power lines, trees across roads and power outages hampered the night-long rescue effort as teams searched house by house for trapped people.

The hardest hit appeared to be the town of Atkins in Pope County, where an 11-year-old girl and her parents were killed. In Clinton, a town in Van Buren County, two people were killed and at least 50 were injured.

Arkansas and Tennessee were among states holding primaries Tuesday for November's presidential election, and several polling stations had to be closed as the storm approached.

Democratic contender Hillary Clinton, who won both states, told a crowd: "We want to keep the people of Arkansas and Tennessee in our prayers. They've suffered horrible tornadoes tonight."

"They are in our thoughts and in our prayers," said her Democratic rival Barack Obama. "We hope that our federal government will respond quickly and rapidly to make sure that they get all the help that they need."

Meanwhile NASA experts in Washington said the same turbulent weather front could delay the scheduled lift-off of the Atlantis space shuttle.

"The storm prediction center is forecasting a five percent chance of severe weather in the central Florida area tomorrow. I think we could see isolated thunderstorms in the area," said NASA shuttle launch weather officer, Kathy Winters.

Lift-off is now set for Thursday after a two-month delay.

Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

China premier predicts 'final victory' in weather war
Guangzhou, China (AFP) Feb 5, 2008
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said "final victory" was in sight with transportation returning to normal Tuesday after the worst winter in decades, but power outages remained a problem for millions.

  • Tornadoes sweep southern US, killing 52
  • China premier predicts 'final victory' in weather war
  • Ticket scalpers thrive in China's frozen transport chaos
  • Limited Economic Impact But Chief Meteorologist Says China Unprepared For Weather

  • WMO plans conference on improving climate predictions
  • University Of Leicester Scientist Calls For Geological Time Machine
  • Can We Use Science To Solve Global Warming
  • Ancient Climate Secrets Raised From Ocean Depths

  • Indonesia To Develop New EO Satellite
  • Russia To Launch Space Project To Monitor The Arctic In 2010
  • New Radar Satellite Technique Sheds Light On Ocean Current Dynamics
  • SPACEHAB Subsidiary Wins NASA Orbiting Carbon Observatory Contract

  • EU industry shelving investments over emissions plans: association
  • Analysis: Europe's pipeline war
  • Fairchild Semiconductor Selects Pune, India For Research And Development Center
  • Offshore Alaska Lease Sale Vital To Meeting America's Energy Needs

  • Penn Researchers Discover New Target For Preventing And Treating Flu
  • Globe-Trotting Black Rat Genes Reveal Spread Of Humans And Diseases
  • Risk of meningitis epidemic in Burkina Faso increases
  • Analysis: NATO begins pandemic monitoring

  • Search For Extreme Organisms In Antarctica
  • Avian Origins: New Analysis Confirms Ancient Beginnings
  • Freshwater Fish Invasions The Result Of Human Activity
  • Markets Of Biodiversity And Equity In Trade An Illusion Or Not

  • MIT Program Aims To Monitor Air And Water Quality Around The Globe
  • New York City Uses Mobile GPS From AT and T and TeleNav To Help Keep City Clean
  • Italy pledges to honour Naples rubbish plan after EU ultimatum
  • Protecting The Alps From Traffic Noise And Air Pollution

  • Communing With Nature Less And Less
  • Blue-Eyed Humans Have A Single, Common Ancestor
  • Brain Connections Strengthen During Waking Hours And Weaken During Sleep
  • Higher China fines for stars breaking one-child rule: state media

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement