CHRISTIANA, Tenn. (AP) — Severe storms sweeping across the South with tornadoes on Tuesday killed a person and injured at least two others, knocking down trees and leaving thousands without power, officials said. The weather disrupted Election Day voting in some places, forcing citizens to use paper ballots instead of electronic voting machines.
In Tennessee, crews responded to a collapsed home where one person was confirmed dead, Rutherford County Emergency Medical Services spokesman Patrick Miller told news outlets. Two others were injured when a nearby mobile home rolled over, he said.
An EF-2 tornado with winds of about 135 mph (217 kph) hit the area, the National Weather Service said after surveying the damage. At least three other twisters were confirmed, two in Alabama and another in Tennessee, the agency said, and teams were still assessing others sites.
The Storm Prediction Center said nine possible tornado strikes were reported.
Tennessee Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins said the polling places that had electricity knocked out are operating on generators and have emergency ballots ready for voters. He said the paper ballots would be counted Tuesday. He said the largest area of power outages was in Knox County, where nearly 20,000 customers were without power Tuesday morning.
In West Virginia, storms caused two voting precincts to open a little late but didn’t cause any lasting problems.
West Virginia Secretary of State’s spokesman Michael Queen said 14 precincts were without power at 5 a.m., but the office worked with several state and local agencies to put generators into place or to move precinct locations. Polling places without power used generators until electricity was restored so no paper ballots were necessary, he said.
Crews worked to restore power to thousands of residents from Louisiana to South Carolina.
Parts of Tupelo, Mississippi, were closed off late Monday as debris, downed trees and power lines blocked roadways, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported . Tupelo Communications Director Leesha Faulkner said there also was a gas leak in a residential area.
In Rutherford County, Fire and Rescue spokeswoman Lisa Sloan said crews responded to a house blaze early Tuesday that appeared to have started from a lightning strike. She said there was heavy damage, but no injuries.
This follows severe storms that were blamed for two deaths in the Gulf Coast area last week.
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