Sarah Sharpe helps clean up at the home of Jimmy Doughty in Pickens County, Ala., after a tornado struck Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017. The tornado damaged several homes in northwest Alabama as the remnants of Hurricane Harvey came through the state. (Gary Cosby Jr./The Tuscaloosa News via AP)

Flooding, likely tornado damage as Harvey hits Deep South

September 01, 2017 - 8:40 am

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Harvey spread its misery into the Deep South as an apparent tornado damaged homes and toppled trees in a rural area of northwest Alabama, and people were evacuated from their homes as creeks flooded in Tennessee.

More than 50 people were evacuated from a Nashville neighborhood due to flooding from Harvey, but no deaths or injuries have been reported, according to a statement Friday morning from the Nashville Office of Emergency Management.

The agency said remnants from Harvey dumped nearly 9 inches (23 centimeters) of rain in some areas over a 24-hour period and crews responded to dozens of calls overnight requesting aid. About 40 people took refuge in a Red Cross shelter set up at a church.

The rains also caused flooding in low-lying streets in Memphis, as the western Tennessee city reported power outages late Thursday and rivers in the area swelled. Though still a tropical depression, Harvey also began to shed its tropical characteristics overnight as its rain bands extended farther across Tennessee and Kentucky on its forecast path toward the Ohio Valley.

At 4 a.m. CDT Friday, Harvey's core was located about 40 miles (65 kilometers) southwest of Nashville, Tennessee, the National Hurricane Center reported. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 30 mph (50 kph) and was moving northeast at 16 mph (26 kph). Forecasters said the storm likely would dissipate Saturday evening around Ohio.

Meanwhile, flash flood watches and warnings remained from northeast Arkansas into northern Mississippi, western Tennessee and much of Kentucky. Those came as the storm slogged deeper into the nation's interior after its catastrophic drenching of parts of Texas and Louisiana, where severe flooding was continuing.

In northwest Alabama, high winds damaged several homes near the city of Reform and minor injuries were reported, news outlets said. Jason Holmes, a meteorologist with The National Weather Service in Birmingham, said Thursday that a tornado was the likely cause of the damage.

Photographs published online by the Tuscaloosa News in Alabama showed huge trees splintered and toppled, houses with their shingles torn away and one mobile home so shattered it was barely recognizable. Men with chain saws went out after the storm had passed to clear downed trees from roads.

Authorities said Harvey's remnants contributed to the death of a motorist in a head-on crash Thursday with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 40 in Memphis. The motorist's name was not immediately released.

In western Tennessee, flood warnings were in effect along or near several rivers, including two leading tributaries of the Mississippi River. Flash flood watches and warnings also stretched into Middle Tennessee. Forecasters said some spots in Tennessee could get more than 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain though forecasts for most areas expected between 4 inches and 8 inches (10 to 20 centimeters).

About 4 inches (10 centimeters) of rain fell in Memphis during a 12-hour period ending at 7:15 p.m. Thursday, the National Weather Service said.

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