Storms cause floods in South


Firefighters rescue a parakeet owned by the Bradshaw family, whose trailer was destroyed by a severe storm Tuesday, in Mary Esther, Fla. A line of severe storms that swept across the Panhandle destroyed two mobile homes, damaged several others and downed trees and power lines in western Okaloosa County, authorities said.

(AP Photo/Northwest Florida Daily, Mari Darr-Welch
Published: Wednesday, January 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 1, 2003 at 1:16 a.m.
Thunderstorms rolled across the South with tornadoes, heavy rain and pounding hail, killing one person, knocking out power and causing street flooding.
"We had trees down all across the area," said Chris Johnson, a spokesman for Louisiana State Police at Shreveport.
Two mobile homes were destroyed Tuesday morning at Mary Esther, Fla., as the storms swept across the Florida Panhandle. One person was treated for a cut after an apparent tornado struck the area.
At least 6,400 homes and businesses were without power Tuesday near Mobile, Ala., Alabama Power spokesman Bernie Fogarty said. Heavy rain flooded some streets in the area.
Louisiana also had scattered street flooding. Nearly 2 inches of rain fell at Shreveport, and New Orleans got about 1 inches.
The storms blew through Texas late Monday, dumping nearly 3 inches of rain near Dallas and hail as big as 1 inches in diameter near Austin. Tornadoes touched down north of Dallas, the National Weather Service said, but no severe damage was reported.
During the night, emergency officials in southwestern Louisiana's Calcasieu Parish reported that a tornado touched down in the town of Iowa, where the roof was blown off a restaurant.
Connie Richards lost much of the roof from her home in the Calcasieu town of Vinton.
"I thought the front door had flew open. I went to close the front door and when I stepped in the kitchen, the door was closed but it was raining on me," she told KPLC-TV.
One man was killed in northwestern Louisiana by a tree that fell on his pickup truck, Johnson said.
Elsewhere, the latest snowstorm in the Sierra Nevada dividing California and Nevada made driving hazardous Tuesday. Interstate 80 was closed overnight north of Lake Tahoe as heavy snow and winds gusting to 100 mph created whiteout conditions. U.S. 50 was closed south of the lake and north of Yosemite National Park.
Both highways reopened at midmorning, with chains mandatory.
Chains and snow tires also were required in the northern part of the state - on U.S. 93 to the Idaho line and over the summits of U.S. 50 - after up to a foot of snow fell in 18 hours around Elko, Nev.

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