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Woman Killed In Louisiana Twister; Deep Freeze Grips Northeast

February 16, 1987

Undated (AP) _ Heavy thunderstorms and tornadoes moved across Louisiana on Sunday, killing one woman, while Arctic air sent temperatures plunging in parts of the Northeast and upper Midwest.

Authorities in Oklahoma tallied the damage from a strong, springlike storm that destroyed eight houses and a church Saturday and caused an estimated $1 million damage.

At Nicholson, in southern Mississippi, a tornado destroyed two mobile homes and a brick house Sunday afternoon, and another tornado caused minor damage when it touched down in Lowndes County in the eastern part of the state.

In Michigan, several cities recorded sub-zero lows overnight, with Alpena shivering in a record minus 21, and state police said two people died in weather-related car crashes on slippery roads during the weekend.

Flooding of the ice-jammed St. Clair River prompted voluntary evacuations of 10 homes Sunday, as the water rose in East China Township.

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Neah Bay was at work Sunday afternoon trying to break up the ice jams and reduce the flooding, and a second one had been sent to help, said St. Clair County sheriff’s dispatcher Carol Coger.

One woman died when a twister churned across a mobile home park near Sulphur, in southwestern Louisiana. Several trailers were destroyed, and boats from a nearby retail outlet were strewn around a highway.

Three people were injured, two of them requiring hospitalization, when another tornado touched down at about 11:15 a.m. near the Pierre Part community in southeast Louisiana’s Assumption Parish.

Assumption Deputy Terry Stewart said the twister knocked out power in various parts of the parish and inflicted heavy damage on several buildings.

In central Louisiana’s Rapides Parish, high winds tossed a satellite dish into a mobile home, knocked over several trailers, downed power lines and ripped off roofs. However, no injuries were reported.

A tornado watch for southeastern Louisiana was cancelled Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, high winds and rains battered parts of Oklahoma and Texas.

The bulk of the damage in Oklahoma was in the small town of Medicine Park, near Lawton. It was caused by a tornado, said Lawton Police Officer Bob McGlothin.

McGlothin said eight homes were destroyed, six were ″mangled pretty good″ and 33 homes were slightly damaged. The Kingdom of God Church in Medicine Park also was flattened, he said. Three injuries were reported, he said, all of them minor.

Police were posted in the area to prevent looting.

Golfball-sized hail was reported near the towns of Cache, Temple and Chickasha, while three-quarter-inch hail was reported near Elmore City and Comanche. Winds of 60 mph were recorded south of Paoli in Garvin County.

″It was warm enough and humid enough to produce real strong thunderstorms,″ said Joe Kendall of the National Weather Service. ″As far as we can tell, from what we all remember, it was an unusual night to have that many severe storms in February.″

A Fort Sill man and woman were injured when their camper trailer was overturned Saturday night at the Lake Elmer Thomas Recreation Area.

Winds gusting to 60 mph ripped roofs off houses and tore down power lines in El Paso on Saturday.

A 30-year-old furniture truck driver escaped serious injury when the delivery truck he was driving was blown over.

At the El Paso International Airport, a DC-3 was blown into a ditch and another DC-3 into a light pole, said airport police dispatcher Phillip Gonzalez. Gonzalez said nine sheds used to store light planes were damaged and two hangars and one plane were destroyed.

Flood warnings were posted for parts of Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri following heavy rains.

In Northeast, the problem was bitter cold.

New York City recorded its coldest weather in two years on Sunday when the reading in Central Park hit 4 degrees. The Automobile Club of New York had its busiest day of the year, with calls coming in at the rate of up to 300 an hour from motorists whose cars wouldn’t start.

Suzanne Trazoff, a spokeswoman for the city’s Human Resources Administration, said no figures would be available until Tuesday on how many homeless people sought refuge in city shelters overnight.

City police are required to remove homeless people from the streets when the temperature drops below freezing, but Officer Ed Kulesa, a police spokesman, said no one was forcibly taken to a shelter Saturday night or Sunday morning.

In Boston, people flooded the mayor’s emergency hotline with complaints about a lack of heat, said building inspector Joseph Cinseruli.

About 200 homes in Boston were without electricity overnight, as the temperature dropped to 1 below, because of an overload on the system, a spokesman for Boston Edison said.

In central New Hampshire, about 2,000 Public Service Co. customers in parts of Belmont, Tilton and Sanborton lost power for up to two hours early Sunday evening. Utility officials blamed the power outage on heavy electrical demand because of cold weather there.

The reading of 10 below zero in Binghamton, N.Y., broke a record for the date of 3 below set in 1979, while Alpena, Mich., had 21 below, 7 degrees colder than the 1974 record.

The coldest spot in the nation Sunday was Watertown, N.Y., with 30 below.

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