MONROE, Mich. – Severe storms that brought damaging winds, heavy rains and flash flooding to parts of the Midwest and the South were blamed for the deaths of three people, including two children in Michigan and Arkansas as well as a woman in Ohio.
Monday's storms also knocked out electrical service to hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses in Indiana and Michigan, with dozens of schools canceling classes in Michigan alone on Tuesday because of power outages.
In the Michigan city of Monroe, a 14-year-old girl was electrocuted Monday night in the backyard of her home after coming into contact with an electrical line that was knocked down by a thunderstorm, the public safety department said in a Facebook post.
The girl was with a friend and she reached for what she believed was a stick, but it turned out to be the power line, the department said.
And in the Detroit-area community of Warren, two boys were hospitalized — including an 8-year-old who was in critical condition — after one of them touched a downed power line Tuesday morning, The Detroit News reported, citing a fire department official.
In Arkansas, an 11-year-old boy died after he was swept into a storm drain during heavy rainfall Monday, authorities said.
A 47-year-old woman who tried to help the child was also pulled from the drain and taken to a hospital for treatment, according to police in Bentonville. Slow-moving thunderstorms brought heavy rainfall to the area Monday and caused localized flash flooding, the National Weather Service said.
“Those heavy rains, when they fell, a lot of them fell really quickly and in a short time,” said meteorologist Brad McGavock with the weather service in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which covers parts of Arkansas. “Water management through those storm drains can really lead to a big volume of water through those culverts.”
In Ohio, a woman was killed Monday night when a tree fell on her behind her home in Toledo just as a strong storm moved through the area, the city’s fire department said. Her name and age were not released.
The storms were widespread in states including Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. Tree branches and power lines fell while winds gusted as high as 58 mph (93 kilometers per hour) at Battle Creek Executive Airport in Michigan and 60 mph (96 kilometers per hour) in Huntington, Indiana, the weather service reported.
On Monday night, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves said that he was declaring a state of emergency after excessive rainfall exacerbated problems in one of Jackson's water-treatment plants and caused low water pressure through much of the capital city. A swollen Pearl River caused flooding in Jackson on Monday, days after storms dumped heavy rain.
The Mississippi flooding was less severe than flooding that caused death and destruction in Kentucky last month. Those floods left at least 39 dead and robbed thousands of families of all of their possessions. Nearly a month later, residents are wrestling with whether to rebuild at the place they call home or to start over somewhere else.