Tornado, flooding kill five

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The death toll rose to at least five on Sunday after severe thunderstorms swept through the central U.S., spawning a tornado that flattened homes, gale force winds and widespread flooding from the Upper Midwest to Appalachia.

The system that stretched from Texas to the Canadian Maritime provinces had prompted several emergency declarations even before the dangerous storms arrived.

In southwestern Michigan, the body of a 48-year-old man was found floating in floodwaters Sunday in Kalamazoo, city Public Safety Lt. David Thomas said. Police were withholding the release of his name until notifying relatives.

Thomas said the death didn’t appear suspicious but the cause wasn’t known. An autopsy was planned as early as today. Kalamazoo has hard hit by flooding from last week’s heavy rains and melting snow.

In Kentucky, authorities said three people died. Two bodies were recovered from submerged vehicles in separate incidents Saturday.

A body was recovered from a vehicle that was in a ditch in western Kentucky near Morganfield, the Henderson Fire Department said on its Facebook page. The body has been sent to a medical examiner for an autopsy.

And a male’s body was pulled from a vehicle in a creek near the south central Kentucky community of Franklin on Saturday, the Simpson County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. The victim’s identify was being withheld pending notification of relatives.

About 20 miles away, Dallas Jane Combs, 79, died after a suspected tornado destroyed her Adairville home earlier Saturday, the Logan County Sheriff’s Office told media outlets. Sheriff officials said Combs was inside the home when it collapsed on her. Combs was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities said Combs’ husband was outside putting up plastic to keep rain out of the home when he was blown into the basement area. He suffered minor injuries.

The fifth death was in northeast Arkansas, where an 83-year-old man was killed after high winds toppled a trailer home. Clay County Sheriff Terry Miller told KAIT-TV that Albert Foster died Saturday night after the home was blown into a pond.

About 50 miles away, the National Weather Service said the roof was blown off a hotel in Osceola, about 160 miles north of Memphis, Tennessee.