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Powerful storms rip through state

Powerful storms rip through state
From AP, staff reports
NASHVILLE — Strong storms packing high winds blew through Tennessee early today, causing power outages and widespread damage. At least one person was killed by a falling tree, authorities said.
Locally, Obion County dodged any major storm damage despite strong winds and heavy rains overnight of more than two inches.
“It didn’t get bad at all,” Obion County Highway Department superintendent Gary Lofton told The Messenger early today.
He said his crews got only one call last night about a tree limb blocking the roadway on Herman Carter Road, but they were called off when the roadway was cleared by sheriff’s deputies before they could get there.
Local residents awoke today to cloudy skies and gusting winds, but the overnight storm left only rain-swollen creeks and ditches around the area.
A spokesman at the Obion County Sheriff’s Department reported no significant storm damage from the overnight storm. Power was knocked out in the Rives area and a crew from Gibson Electric Membership Corporation was on the scene there shortly after 1 a.m., according to the sheriff’s department.
By dawn today, the leading edge of the fast-moving storms was crossing the Cumberland Plateau, headed for the eastern Tennessee River Valley.
In Nashville, police told WTVF-TV that a man was killed early today when a large tree was blown onto a storage shed where he was sheltering. Authorities didn’t immediately release his name.
A tornado watch remained in effect for the eastern half of the state.
Just east of Nashville, Wilson County authorities said there was considerable damage from what might have been a tornado. The top floor of a three-story building was damaged in Mount Juliet and a man and his son who live there escaped injury by diving underneath a mattress. A tractor-trailer truck parked behind a restaurant was flipped onto its side. The driver wasn’t hurt.
Thousands of electricity customers across the state lost power as tree limbs were blown onto lines.
In West Tennessee, all or parts of 10 counties were under a flash flood warning early today because of continued rainfall.
Warm, moist air was being overrun by a cold front, setting off the storms, which did not produce a lot of lightning.
Temperatures were falling behind the storm front. Early temperatures today had been as high as 71 degrees in Nashville, but fell to 55 degrees by 6:30 a.m.
It was also 55 in Memphis, but ahead of the front, Knoxville reported 69 degrees and Chattanooga had 67 degrees.
A continued cooling was forecast, with temperatures below freezing expected by tonight.
Published in The Messenger 1.30.13