December 15, 2017
Sunday, March 4, 2012

Calm weather offers respite after deadly US storms

Calm weather gave dazed residents of storm-wracked US towns a respite early on Sunday as they dug out from a chain of tornadoes that cut a swath of destruction from the Midwest to the Gulf of Mexico, killing at least 37 people.

The fast-moving twisters spawned by massive thunderstorms splintered blocks of homes, damaged schools and a prison, and tossed around vehicles like toys, killing 20 people in Kentucky, 12 in neighboring Indiana, three in Ohio and one in Alabama, officials said. Georgia also reported a storm-related death. 

Indiana officials revised the state's death toll down from 14 after learning two of the deaths weren't tied to the storms. 

Forecasters said more trouble was headed for the hardest hit areas of Indiana and Kentucky on Sunday night, when up to three inches of rain and snow were expected to add to the burden for hundreds of residents whose homes were destroyed.

"It's very light right now, but the coverage and intensity of the precipitation is expected to increase later on this afternoon and into the evening," said Kurt Van Speybroeck of the National Weather Service. 

Friday's storms came on top of severe weather earlier in the week in the Midwest and brought the overall death toll from the unseasonably early storms this week to at least 50 people.

Television footage from Indiana and Kentucky showed houses ripped from their foundations, trees downed and stripped of their foliage, and rubble scattered across wide stretches of land. 

In Georgia, light planes were lifted off the tarmac of a regional airport in Paulding County and thrown back on the ground. In Indiana, a school bus was slammed into a building.

Clean-up crews worked to move downed power lines and clear debris, and residents began putting tarps over torn apart homes to prevent further damage. Meanwhile, the more fortunate brought donations including diapers, blankets and food to area churches. 

"That's what people do. It's no biggie. It's because we care. They are our neighbors," said Brenda Parson, as she brought a carload of donations to the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Henryville, Indiana.

President Barack Obama called the governors of Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky to offer condolences and assure them the federal government was ready to help if needed.

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Tags:  calm  weather  respite  deadly  storms  us  

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