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At Least 10 People Are Killed as Tornadoes Hit Tennessee, Ohio

November 11, 2002|From Associated Press

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Devastating, tornado-laden storms ripped through Tennessee and Ohio on Sunday, killing at least 10 people, trapping others in buildings and leaving thousands without power, authorities said.

At least five tornadoes swept across middle and western Tennessee packing winds up to 140 mph, the National Weather Service said.

Five people were confirmed dead and at least 21 injured in Ohio, where a weather spotter saw at least four twisters hit rural northwestern Van Wert County, sheriff's officials said.

To the northeast, in Putnam County, two people were killed and one critically injured when a mobile home overturned, said Sgt. Brad Nelson of the sheriff's office. A house collapsed in Seneca County, killing one person and injuring two others.

Another person died after being thrown from a car, authorities said.

The storms cut a 100-mile swath from Van Wert near the Indiana state line to Port Clinton along Lake Erie.

Gov. Robert A. Taft declared a state of emergency in Van Wert and Ottawa counties, though storms downed power lines, closed roads and poured golf-ball-size hail in many areas.

Brian Farris of Van Wert said he saw a tornado touch down outside the city, leveling a house.

"It pulled everything off, set it down, then threw it in a field," he said. "It was on the ground at least a mile."

At least five people were killed and 25 injured in Tennessee, including two Sunday night after a second line of storms crossed central Tennessee.

All of the state's 95 counties were under tornado watches.

In middle Tennessee, Steven Graves and his wife survived after wind rolled their Sumner County mobile home 50 feet. "I could feel the trailer crumbling apart and I remember thinking I was going to die," Graves told WSMV-TV of Nashville.

In Montgomery County, 40 miles northwest of Nashville, Dennis and Karen Louise Tooby were killed when a tornado blew their mobile home off its foundation and hurled it into a field, officials said. Laqueeta Forsythe, 65, was killed when a tornado overturned her mobile home in Carroll County, about 100 miles west of Nashville.

In western Tennessee, tornadoes damaged a dormitory at Union University in Jackson, and several homes and a nursing home in Bells, 150 miles southwest of Nashville.

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