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Huge storm system in U.S. East, 2 dead

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Jan. 30 (UPI) — At least two people were killed as winds and tornadoes associated with a 1,000-mile-long storm tore through the U.S. Southeast and mid-Atlantic, officials said.

One person was killed and an estimated 100 cars were overturned on Interstate 75 when a tornado swept through Adairsville, Ga., Wednesday, the National Weather Service said.

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency for Bartow and Gordon counties and an estimated 24,000 customers were without electrical service in west and north Georgia, CNN reported.

The twister touched down shortly before noon EST about midway between Atlanta and Chattanooga, Tenn., leveling at least one home, WSB-TV, Atlanta, reported. The weather service said at least two other tornadoes were reported in the area in Lindale and Calhoun, CNN reported.

Seven poultry facilities near Calhoun were reported destroyed.

At least one person was killed when the storm damaged numerous buildings in Bartow County. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported all lanes of I-75 were blocked until after 1 p.m. at milepost 306.

Winds in excess of 60 mph ripped through Kentucky and Tennessee early Wednesday, reported.

A wind gust of 105 mph blew through Mount Juliet, Tenn., about 5 a.m., ripping off the top floor of a three-story building, the NWS said. A 47-year-old man was reported killed in Nashville when a tree fell on a shed, WTFV, Nashville, reported.

In Memphis, more than 13,000 customers were without power after high winds downed power lines.

Tornadoes were confirmed in Marion County, Ky., and Harrison County, Ind., CNN said.

As the storm moved eastward, tornado and flash-flood warnings were posted for eastern Tennessee and the western parts of the Carolinas through 8 p.m. EST, CNN said.

About 1,200 customers were without power in northeastern Indianapolis after heavy winds and rain snapped six 95-foot-tall utility poles, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The severe weather covered an area from New Orleans and Jacksonville, Fla., in the south to Pittsburgh and Baltimore to the north, The Weather Channel reported.

The temperature dropped from 67 F to 35 F in a 24-hour period in Kansas City, Mo., with heavy sleet and snow reported behind the front. As much as 4 inches of rain fell in the area with a 3-hour period.

One to 3 inches of snow fell from Northern Texas to Nebraska, with severe thunderstorms in the Midwest throughout the night, and the National Weather Service said severe weather or damage was reported Wednesday in Texas, Mississippi and Alabama.

The storm system is expected to extend its reach to include New York and Florida, CNN said.

Flood warnings and watches were posted in many areas from southern Louisiana to Michigan, with heavy downpours expected in some areas. However, the system was expected to keep moving and did not threaten to stall over any particular region.

A freezing rain advisory was posted for much of Iowa and Wisconsin, and the northern Plains states were expected to get hit with winter storms.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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