Five killed after tornado hits Missouri

MISSOURI (AFP): A tornado that struck the Midwestern US state of Missouri early Wednesday morning killed at least five people, according to local authorities.

Images broadcast on the Fox 2 television channel showed downed trees and destroyed houses in Glenallen, a town in Bollinger County, in the southeastern part of the state.

“Five fatalities confirmed,” Sergeant Clark Parrott, spokesman for the Missouri State Highway Patrol, told AFP.

Multiple towns in the area “were hit with what appears to be a significant tornado,” Bollinger County Sheriff Casey A. Graham wrote in a post on Facebook, confirming the death toll at five.

“Throughout the early morning and continuing now, efforts for search and rescue are underway.”

Tornados — which are difficult to predict by meteorologists — are relatively common in the United States, mostly appearing in the middle and south of the country.

Tornados and powerful storms swept multiple states last weekend, killing at least 32 people.

The southern state of Tennessee was hit especially hard, with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency reporting “15 weather-related fatalities.”

A week earlier, a tornado touched down in Mississippi, killing at least 25. Amid the destruction, the governor declared a state of emergency, and President Joe Biden visited the battered town of Rolling Fork.

Storm knocks out power to more than a million Canadians

More than a million Canadians were without electricity on Thursday as an ice storm lashed the east of the country, knocking over trees and damaging power lines, a utilities provider said.

The environment ministry issued a freezing rain warning for Quebec province, with authorities warning that the buildup of ice “was heavy enough in some places to uproot entire trees.”

As of 12:30 am (0430 GMT Thursday), more than a million Hydro-Quebec customers were without electricity, the company said on its website.

“The outages were primarily caused by the weight of the ice which leads branches and trees to break and come into contact with power lines,” Hydro-Quebec tweeted.

About half a million of those without power were in Montreal, where city crews worked to clear roads of broken branches and downed wires.

Montreal police received a “high volume of calls related to the ice storm” while city mayor Valerie Plante called for vigilance.

In neighboring Ontario province, more than 100,000 customers lost power, with “high winds, lightning strikes and the accretion of freezing rain” damaging equipment and felling trees, said electricity provider Hydro One.