SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – The National Weather Service confirmed the damage in two Upstate counties Friday was caused by a tornado.
NWS confirmed tornado damage was visible from northern Laurens County to southern Spartanburg County.
The preliminary maximum wind speed was estimated near 100 miles per hour rating the tornado an EF-1.
In central Tennessee, where the severe weather took down power lines and damaged homes, at least two deaths were blamed on the storm. In both cases, the victims were struck by falling trees, authorities told local news outlets.
About 728,000 utility customers in Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee were without power, according to PowerOutage.us. More than 330,000 of those customers were in Kentucky, and the governor warned it would take days for utility crews to fully restore service.
Kentucky’s electric cooperatives reported hundreds of snapped utility poles and thousands of power lines down across the Bluegrass State. Soft ground from heavy rains slowed the progress of heavy equipment to access damaged infrastructure.
“The damage from this event is as widespread as any natural disaster I have ever seen in Kentucky co-op history,” said Chris Perry, president and CEO of Kentucky Electric Cooperatives.
In Alabama, a 70-year-old man sitting in his truck in Talledega County was killed when a tree fell onto his vehicle. A 43-year-old man in Lauderdale County and a man in Huntsville also were killed by falling trees Friday, local authorities said. Heavy rain caused flooding in southern Missouri and northern Arkansas.
In the upper Midwest, winter-weary residents dug out Saturday from snowfall that caused widespread power outages and forced Detroit’s Metropolitan Wayne County Airport to briefly close late Friday. Thousands of residents in the region already had lost power for days following recent ice storms that slammed Michigan.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.