Associated Press, June 5, 2014
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Powerful thunderstorms swept through parts of the Midwest and South on Thursday, leading to the deaths of two people in Arkansas as strong winds toppled trees, utility lines and a freight train.
The Arkansas Department of Emergency Management says one man died when a tree fell on a van, while another man was killed in nearby Jonesboro when a tree fell onto his home. Their names haven’t been released.
Strong winds also blew over a freight train on a Union Pacific line in northeast Arkansas, blocking U.S. Highway 49.
“Right now the issue is the cargo boxes that are causing the problem, those that have spilled out across the highway,” Arkansas State Police spokesman Bill Sadler said.
He said winds also blew over about a half-dozen tractor-trailers. No serious injuries or hazardous cargo were involved in those incidents.
The storms also damaged numerous homes and businesses and caused widespread power outages.
After moving through Arkansas, the weather system moved east into Tennessee and Mississippi. It was expect to move into Alabama and Georgia later Thursday night.
Further north, the National Weather Service confirmed a tornado touched down outside Sioux Falls, South Dakota. No injuries were reported from that twister that resulted from a strong, isolated thunderstorm that dumped about an inch of rain within 20 minutes.