SHUQUALAK, Miss —
The line of severe storms was trudging east to soon be in Georgia, where the world's best golfers are playing in the Masters at Augusta National. The weather was warm and sunny on the first day of the four-day tournament but severe storms were forecast overnight.
In Missouri and neighboring Illinois, crews with the weather service still were assessing whether tornadoes were to blame for other damage, meteorologist Mark Fuchs said. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency shortly after the storm swept through the eastern part of Missouri, bringing hail, up to 2 ½ inches of rain and strong winds.
Utility workers scrambled to restore power to more than 23,000 still-affected Missouri homes and businesses. One utility worker for Ameren Missouri was electrocuted while doing electrical work to repair damage, the company said. The company says he was taken to an area hospital but did not survive.
In the upper Midwest, thousands of homes and businesses also lost power because of heavy wet snow, ice and wind in the past couple of days, while rain and snow raised flooding concerns in various areas of the Midwest. A suspected tornado caused damage in Arkansas.
A third death was reported in the Nebraska Pandhandle, where a woman perished Tuesday when she tried to trudge through a blinding snowstorm from her disabled car to her house a mile away.
On Wednesday, seven members of the Sullivan, Mo., municipal airport board were gathered at the airport Wednesday night for a meeting. A member noticed what looked like funnel clouds over the 7,000-resident town about 65 miles southwest of St. Louis. Then, a wind-blown pickup truck then scooted by — without a driver. The gust was clocked at 101 mph.
"The city administrator said his ears were popping, then all of a sudden the building shook and the windows shook," board member Larry Cuneio said. "I'm the street commissioner and I've seen wind do a lot of things, but never anything like this."