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Archive for Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tornado kills 2, injures 41

April 11, 2009

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People help sort through debris after the roof and some walls were torn off the home of Billy and Sharon White after severe storms went through Murfreesboro, Tenn., on Friday.

People help sort through debris after the roof and some walls were torn off the home of Billy and Sharon White after severe storms went through Murfreesboro, Tenn., on Friday.

— A tornado killed a woman and her 9-week-old infant and also injured dozens Friday in central Tennessee as a line of storms lifted homes, ripped off roofs and dumped hail in the Southeast.

Elsewhere, a tornado touched down in southwestern Kentucky, injuring two people and destroying homes. A possible tornado was reported in northeast Alabama. And large hail fell in North Carolina.

At least 41 people were hurt in Rutherford County, Tenn., four of them critically, in the aftermath of a storm system that killed three in western Arkansas a day earlier.

“I think we’re right in the middle of tornado alley these days,” said Dan Goodwin of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Department.

Dispatchers at the Rutherford County Emergency Management Agency said the area was “heavily impacted” after several eyewitness reports of a tornado on the ground around 12:30 p.m. local time.

In Murfreesboro, 30 miles southeast of Nashville, at least three dozen homes were destroyed. Roofs were ripped away from at least a dozen homes, and some trees were blown down. A bulldozer was clearing tree limbs and other debris from streets.

Kori Bryant, in her mid-20s, and 9-week-old Olivia Bryant were identified as the dead. They apparently were trying to get in a car — both were found outside, and the infant was in a car seat, rescue official Randy White said.

Andrew Piro, 23, who was on his way to work when the tornado struck, told the Knoxville News-Sentinel he came upon a man who said his brother’s wife and child were missing.

“Outside under the rubble, we found the wife,” Piro said. “She was right beside the driveway, about 20 feet away from the house. She was under a bunch of wood, I guess part of the roof. We found the baby strapped into a car seat, about another 20 feet away under a tree. It broke my heart.”

Amy Jones, 32, was at work at State Farm Insurance when she heard that her house had been leveled. She was stunned when she got to the scene and saw that the 1,800-square-foot home with a garage was lifted completely off the foundation and dropped on her neighbor’s home.

“My house is on top of someone else’s house. It’s surreal,” Jones said.

Friday afternoon, search teams fanned out across Murfreesboro, a city of about 100,500, looking for anyone trapped in homes. Clyde Atkinson, spokesman for the Murfreesboro Police Department, said he believes there were three to five touchdowns mostly in the northern and western parts of the city.

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