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Tornado death confirmed as violent storms smack south

Pastor Steve Blaylock looks over the broken tree, resolving panels, isolation and destroyed churches in the first Pentecostal church in Columbus, Miss., Sunday morning, February 24, 2019 after a Saturday tornado. While no one was injured during the storm, at least one person in the city was killed among the shattered companies and disappeared home. (AP Photo / Rogelio V. Solis) COLUMBUS, Miss. – Weekend storms shaved parts of the southeast and left deaths and injuries in their wake as a tornado crushed in a commercial district in a small Mississippi city and draining rain with a rising flood. [19659004] A woman was killed when a tornado struck Columbus, Mississippi, and a man died as he drove in river water in Tennessee, officials said. Mayor of Columbus Robert Smith Sr. said 41-year-old Ashley Glynell Pounds of Tupelo and her husband renovated a house on Saturday night, and when the man went to get them something to eat collapsed and killed her. Smith said 12 others were injured, but the injuries did not seem to be great. City spokesman Joe Dillon said tornado also injured a school and two community buildings. In Knox County, Tennessee, officials said one man died after his vehicle was immersed in high water. Tornado Saturday afternoon in Columbus was confirmed on radar, said meteorologist Anna Wolverton with the National Weather Service in Jackson. She told the Associated Press that experts would be led Sunday in the East Mississippi City with about 23,000 people to measure the…

Weekend storms shaved parts of the southeast and left deaths and injuries in their wake as a tornado crushed in a commercial district in a small Mississippi city and draining rain with a rising flood. [19659004] A woman was killed when a tornado struck Columbus, Mississippi, and a man died as he drove in river water in Tennessee, officials said.

Mayor of Columbus Robert Smith Sr. said 41-year-old Ashley Glynell Pounds of Tupelo and her husband renovated a house on Saturday night, and when the man went to get them something to eat collapsed and killed her.

Smith said 12 others were injured, but the injuries did not seem to be great. City spokesman Joe Dillon said tornado also injured a school and two community buildings.

In Knox County, Tennessee, officials said one man died after his vehicle was immersed in high water.

Tornado Saturday afternoon in Columbus was confirmed on radar, said meteorologist Anna Wolverton with the National Weather Service in Jackson. She told the Associated Press that experts would be led Sunday in the East Mississippi City with about 23,000 people to measure the intensity of the tornado.

At the first Pentecostal church in Columbus, principal Steve Blaylock said the building was “a total loss,” with a wall wrapped, holes in the ceiling and significant water damage. He and his congregants tried to save what they could in the morning after the storm. But he said they still held a Sunday prayer and even continued with a planned baptism using a borrowed portable baptismal pool.

“We will rebuild. We have a good church here,” said Blaylock. “It will be a testimony of God.”

Holders of a street on Columbus’s east side were out on Sunday morning with chain saws and cleared away branches of the many trees that had snapped or disturbed in the storm. Metal sides and roofing materials were spread throughout the older residential area. While the houses were generally left, buildings and buildings were mostly made.

Lee Lawrence, who said he has sold used cars for decades in Columbus, told AP that four buildings on his car party were destroyed. He said trees dropped over vehicles and car windows blown out.

Lawrence said he was at home ready to take a bath when the storm struck.

“The wind suddenly became just so strong and it was raining so much that you could hardly see the door out, and I could hear a mess. It was obvious,” he said, talking to the AP in a phone call.

“It’s going to be a start-over deal,” Lawrence said. “I can’t say it will come back better or stronger, but we’ll come back.”

A photographer working for the AP in Columbus said that some antique cars at Lawrence were parked among the injuries and a nearby pet care industry now emerged to be mostly oblique piles of metal. A printing house had been speared by a pipe with great force and what appeared to be a vacant commercial building nearby, was seriously damaged.

Firefighters and law enforcement authorities knocked off the area and the power was out in the area.

In other places around the south, homes, highways, parks and bridges were flooded or fought out of the heavy rains and difficult storms. News reports report that water rescue has been carried out in some Middle Tennessee counties. River warning alerts and clocks remained in place throughout the south and a Mississippi community reported large hail.

Interstate 40 near the Tennessee line with North Carolina was shut down by a stone crown, one of dozens of roads and highways closed throughout the region, transport officials said.

Officials said a mudslide destroyed a subway restaurant in Signal Mountain, Tennessee. No damage was reported.

In West Virginia, officials have evacuated 11 families in the southern state from low-lying areas due to flooding from heavy rains. High wind warnings remained in force Sunday too much of the state. WCHS TV reports more than 21,000 Appalachian Power customers were without power Sunday afternoon.

In Bruce, Mississippi, the rivers broke flood stage and river floods poured into homes and businesses. The news reports that officials in Grenada, Mississippi, declared a local emergency after dozens of streets and homes flooded. A 6-kilometer stretch of Natchez Trace Parkway was closed in Mississippi after a water-covered part of the road.

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for northwestern Lafayette County in the Mississippi after emergency situations reported that a local pond was at risk of failure. The meteorologist Kole Fehling says emergency services reported the threat involved Audubon Dam, which blocks a stream on the north side of Oxford and a subdivision.

The weather managers said the storm’s impact stretched from eastern Arkansas to northern Georgia and beyond. Alabama’s governor declared an emergency in several counties, hoping to quickly recover in the event of injuries.

On Friday, Kentucky announced that it closed the US 51 bridge over the Ohio River to Cairo, Illinois, due to flooding in the southern approach. The bridge, which transports 4,700 vehicles per day, is likely to be closed until Thursday and possibly longer.

Near Jamestown, Kentucky, Army Corps of Engineers said it was increasing emissions from Wolf Creek Dam on the Cumberland River. Areas downstream of the pond, from Rowena to Burkesville, can be affected by floods as a result, officials said.

The Ohio River in Cairo was predicted to crash Sunday on its third highest level ever recorded and keep it high next week. The Tennessee River near Savannah, Tennessee, was also forecast for weapons at near record levels.

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Associated Press author Adrian Sainz of Memphis, Tennessee and Jay Reeves of Birmingham, Alabama, contributed to this story along with staff photographer Rogelio Solis and freelance photographer Jim Lytle working in Columbus, Mississippi.

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