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At Least Two Killed as Storms Tear through Arkansas, Mississippi

At least two people were killed as wild storms and suspected tornadoes tore through parts of Mississippi and Arkansas on Saturday, injuring several others, damaging homes and sweeping trucks off a highway, authorities said.

By Kevin Murphy

(Reuters) - At least two people were killed as wild storms and suspected tornadoes tore through parts of Mississippi and Arkansas on Saturday, injuring several others, damaging homes and sweeping trucks off a highway, authorities said.

Two adults died when the car they were driving in struck a fallen tree in the road in Jasper County, Mississippi, county coroner Randy Graham told Reuters.

Local television reports said a man was killed in Coahoma County when his mobile home blew over in high winds, but authorities could not be reached for confirmation early on Sunday.

Widespread damage from the storm system was also reported near Dermott, Arkansas, in the southeast corner of the state, where five homes were badly damaged, 15 suffered minor damage and four trucks were blown off a highway, said National Weather Service meteorologist David Cox in Jackson, Mississippi. Two people were injured, he said.

"We are thinking it was a tornado," Cox said. "We had quite a bit of rotation and quite a bit of damage." The storm hit at about 5 p.m. local time, he said.

The same weather system crossed the state line into Boliver County, Mississippi, where winds clocked at 64 mph downed power lines and trees and damaged some buildings, Cox said. No injuries were reported.

A possible tornado injured several people and damaged a few homes on Saturday near the town of Hughes in eastern Arkansas, officials said.

The windstorm struck at about 4 p.m., said dispatcher Lynn Morgan of the Saint Francis County Sheriff's Office. Ambulances were called to the scene, another dispatcher said.

Tommy Jackson, spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, said one person was seriously hurt and two suffered lesser injuries. Two homes were destroyed and three damaged in the storm, he said.

The storm has not yet been classified as a tornado by the National Weather Service, he said.

The possible tornado struck a few miles west of Hughes, a town of 1,400 people about 20 miles southwest of Memphis near the eastern border of Arkansas, officials said.

A turbulent weather system was moving late Saturday from the south central United States into the Midwest, according to the National Weather Service.

The National Weather Service has posted tornado watches on the southern end of the system and winter storm warnings to include ice, sleet and 4 to 8 inches of snow from eastern Kansas into Michigan late Saturday and early Sunday.

(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City, Missouri and Chris Michaud in New York; Editing by Andrew Heavens)

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