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Storms batter parts of U.S.; uprooted tree kills boy in Richmond, Va.

By UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL

Storms powered through the U.S. Mid-Atlantic and Deep South, killing a boy in Virginia and knocking out power for thousands of customers, officials said.

Harsh weather also hit the Midwest.

Authorities at Maymont Park in Richmond, Va., were evacuating visitors Thursday when a tree was uprooted and fell on the 4-year-old boy and his father, killing the child and injuring the man, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported.

Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones said officials at Maymont worked hard to evacuate park visitors to safety but the storm moved in too quickly, the report said.

At the peak of the outages Thursday, about 300,000 customers from Maryland to Georgia were without electricity, CNN reported.

The National Weather Service said a tornado was spotted near Colesville, Md., in suburban Washington.

The storms dumped up to an inch of rain in some areas of Richmond, the National Weather Service said. Wind gusts of between 60 mph and 80 mph were reported in the Richmond area and across the state.

The NWS said there were some reports of funnel clouds in northern Virginia.

Storms with strong winds moved into the South and threatened the Atlanta metro area, CNN said.

WSB-TV, Atlanta, reported wind gusts of up to 70 mph in parts of Cobb County north of downtown Atlanta. The report said there were 900 lightning strikes in the area in a 10-minute span.

In Michigan, motorists in and around Lansing and Hastings were warned not to drive through flooded streets Thursday.

Residents of Fort Wayne, Ind., received a similar warning, CNN said.

Winds buffeted Chicago with 50-mph gusts and hail Thursday, then knocked over trees and buildings in Auglaize, Ohio, CNN said.

Heavy rain fell across West Virginia early Thursday, causing flash flooding that blocked several roadways in Roane County in the west-central area of the state.

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

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