At least 12 people have died as winter storms hit the South and Midwest

Cleanup efforts began in the South and Midwest after a widespread storm system produced high winds and heavy snow that caused widespread damage and at least 12 deaths before racing through the Northeast on Saturday.

Three people died in Alabama after falling trees due to severe weather. In Mississippi, a woman died when her SUV hit a rotten tree branch, and in Arkansas, a man drowned in heavy flooding. Two weather-related deaths were reported in Tennessee, including a motorist who died near the west Tennessee town of Waverly, the Humphreys County Sheriff’s Office said.

Five weather-related deaths were reported in Kentucky in four different counties as storms moved through the state with straight-line winds. Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency before the storm and Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg followed suit Friday evening due to severe storms, high winds, widespread damage and danger to life and property.

More than 466,000 utility customers in Kentucky and Michigan were without power as of Saturday night, according to the utility monitoring website. More than 276,000 of those customers were in Kentucky, and the governor warned that it would take days for utility crews to fully restore service.

Boris Yakupsik clears his vehicle with a shovel after a major snowstorm recorded 9 inches of snow overnight, Saturday, March 4, 2023, in Lapeer, Mich. (AP via Jake May/The Flint Journal)

Jack May / AB

Kentucky’s electric cooperatives reported hundreds of power poles and thousands of downed power lines across the Bluegrass State. Soft ground from heavy rains slowed the progress of heavy equipment to access damaged infrastructure.

New York state, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine received more than a foot of snow before the late winter storm began to taper off late. Driving conditions were dangerous as dozens of cars, trucks and tractor-trailers slid off the roads, police said. Crews were working to restore power to nearly 20,000 customers in New York’s capital Albany after heavy, wet snow brought down tree branches.

In the upper Midwest, winter-weary residents dug through snow Saturday that caused widespread power outages and forced the brief closure of Detroit’s Metropolitan Wayne County Airport late Friday. Thousands of residents in the region have already been without power for several days following the recent snow storms that hit Michigan.

Victoria Burnett felt a sense of foreboding when snow began to fall Friday in Farmington Hills, northwest of Detroit. Burnett lost power for seven days following the first snowstorm. She was able to use the generator until her service was restored.

“When it started snowing (Friday), I saw heavy, wet snow and I was really worried,” Burnett said. Her lights flickered, but the power remained the same.

The National Weather Service said heavy snow Friday afternoon caused poor road conditions and numerous vehicle accidents across much of northwest Indiana.

In California, Weather system there Up to 10 feet of snow hit the state earlier in the week. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency in 13 counties, including San Bernardino County east of Los Angeles, where massive snowfall closed roads, knocked out power, collapsed roofs and trapped residents in their homes for days.

San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department reported 20 people stranded in the hills were rescued on Friday night. More than 500 crews worked Saturday on snow removal and emergency response efforts, the sheriff’s office said.

Officials are busy clearing roads and distributing food, water and blankets.

According to the National Weather Service in San Diego, snow is possible in the area on Sunday.

In Texas, The wind blew down the trees, tore off the roof of a grocery store in Little Elm, north of Dallas, and overturned four 18-wheelers. Police said there were minor injuries.

Wind gusts reached 80 mph near the Fort Worth suburb of Blue Mound. The roof was blown off an apartment building in suburban Hurst, resident Michael Roberts told KDFW-TV.

Storm damage in northern Richland Hills, Texas. March 3, 2023.

City of North Richland Hills

“The whole building started shaking … the whole roof was gone,” Roberts said. “It’s been really crazy.”

Heavy rain also fell in parts of southern Missouri and northern Arkansas, causing flooding in both states.

Severe storms wreak havoc, leaving thousands without power in Texas and Louisiana

In southwest Arkansas, Betty Andrews told KSLA-TV that she and her husband took shelter in the bathroom of their mobile home when a tornado moved through.

“It was so scary. I opened the front door to look out and I saw it coming. I grabbed Kevin and got in the bathtub,” Andrews said. “We hunkered down and I said a few prayers until it passed.”

They were fine, but the house sustained extensive damage and the couple was temporarily trapped in the bathroom until a neighbor cleared the debris from outside the door.

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