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Deadly storms strike across East
LA PLATA -- Tornado-ravaged cities from Missouri to Maryland picked up the pieces today after an unusually wide and potent swath of thunderstorms plowed across the eastern half of the nation, killing at least six people.
Maryland was hit especially hard Sunday evening, with a tornado causing at least three deaths and 93 injuries in two southern counties. A twister caused serious damage to at least a 10-mile stretch of this town of about 6,500 -- even leveling part of a school.
"They're banged up and shocked, and they're frightened," Civista Medical Center chief executive Chris Stefanides said of the injured. "I don't think they've ever really seen anything like this before."
Jack Cahalan, a spokesman with the Maryland Emergency Management Administration, said today that 12 people were critically injured and 81 others had minor to serious injuries.
One of those killed was 74-year-old Margaret Albey of Prince Frederick. Her husband, George, was critically injured, said Calvert County sheriff's Sgt. Rick Thomas.
"The house is gone," Thomas said of the Albeys' home. "It's moved probably 80 yards down and into a ravine. They were in the house and trapped in the rubble."
A curfew was set in La Plata to keep people off the streets, and all public schools in Charles County were closed, officials said. About 6,500 customers in the area were without power early today.
Thunderstorms struck states throughout the Tennessee and Ohio valleys on Sunday before continuing east to Maryland. The northern edge of the system brought heavy snow to Wisconsin and Minnesota.
In Missouri, a tornado packing wind of up to 180 mph and roughly two football fields wide plowed through the small town of Marble Hill, hurling a 12-year-old boy 50 yards to his death. At least 16 people were injured and several homes were destroyed.
"It took several houses completely away. Blown to sticks -- nothing left but the subfloor," Marble Hill Police Sgt. Dennis Willis said.
The boy, Billy Hoover, was on a sleepover with friends when the tornado touched down. Two of his friends in the house walked away, as did two other occupants, but the house was left in ruins, Bollinger County Sheriff Terry Wiseman said.
"That was my first tornado, and if I don't see another one, that'd be fine," said Bollinger County Sheriff coroner Charles Hutchings.
The tornado also tossed vehicles, razed buildings and twisted tractor-trailers before the storms raced eastward.
At least 30 people were injured in Providence and Irvington, Ky., where Billy Garrett, 52, died when he was thrown about 200 feet from his mobile home, said Breckinridge County Coroner Bob Rhodes.
Dozens were injured in southern Illinois and a 69-year-old woman was found dead outside her home in the town of Dongola. In nearby Cypress, two second-floor classrooms of the brick Cypress Grade School were missing a roof and walls.
The tiny town of Tobinsport sustained the heaviest storm damage in Indiana. A dozen people were injured and 10 of the 30 homes in the unincorporated community 60 miles east of Evansville were destroyed.
Another twister cut a 5-mile-long path through northeastern Ohio, destroying one home in Stark County and damaging about 75 others. Police said there were no deaths or serious injuries. High wind and hail the size of golf balls damaged rooftops and cars throughout the state.
In Tennessee, a tornado cut a 10-mile path through the Murfreesboro area, about 30 miles southeast of Nashville, injuring 18 people and damaging 62 homes and buildings. Wind reached 140 mph.
Heavy rain and wind exceeding 55 mph blew through Pennsylvania, blowing the roofs off buildings and leaving thousands in the Pittsburgh area without power. Hail as big as golf balls in West Virginia was accompanied by up to 2 inches of rain that caused minor flooding.
Western New York state also had a tornado, which destroyed a house, garage and barn near Belfast, National Weather Service meteorologists confirmed today.
On the Net:
National Weather Service: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/