- The Washington Times - Friday, April 7, 2006

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A line of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes marched across the South yesterday, peeling away roofs, overturning cars and killing at least 11 persons in Tennessee, officials said.

It was the second wave of violent weather to hit Tennessee in less than a week. Last weekend, thunderstorms and tornadoes killed 24 persons in the western part of the state and destroyed more than 1,000 homes and buildings.

The storms raked an area from northern Mississippi to Northern Virginia as they moved to the Northeast late yesterday after developing from a low-pressure system in the central Plains.

The Nashville suburbs were the hardest hit, with at least eight deaths northeast of the city. Three more persons were killed in a rural area about 65 miles southeast of Nashville.

Fire Chief Joe Womack said three bodies were pulled from the wreckage of homes in a subdivision of Gallatin, about 24 miles northeast of the city.

Steven Davis, who lives about a block from the subdivision, said he ran to a neighbor’s home to take shelter in a crawl space when he heard the storm approaching.

“When the tornado came through, the roof was off just like that,” Mr. Davis said, snapping his fingers. Houses on each side of his street were destroyed.

“Our neighborhood is leveled,” he said.

Tornadoes also were reported in the Nashville suburbs of Goodlettsville, Hendersonville and Ashland City, and in Holladay, about 90 miles west of Nashville. The storms flattened trees, knocked down power lines and damaged homes and other buildings.

Spotty communications made it difficult for emergency responders to get a full picture of the damage. Phone lines to authorities and most businesses were out of service.

Hospitals admitted at least 60 persons with storm-related injuries and transferred at least nine critically injured patients to Nashville hospitals.

At Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, several people suffered cuts and scratches, spokesman Eric Melcher said.

Two campus buildings were severely damaged, Mr. Melcher said. Emergency workers searched other buildings in an attempt to account for all students.

Three car dealerships near the college were devastated, with 250 cars destroyed.

In Kentucky, two homes were destroyed, possibly by a tornado.

In southern Indiana, the storms pelted some areas with golf-ball-sized hail. High winds blew the roof off a country club and toppled a semitrailer.

As the storms moved farther east, parts of West Virginia were lashed with heavy rain and winds, blowing the roofs off businesses and sending trees crashing into houses.

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