WILLIAMSTON, Mich. &
A couple spending their first night in a new house were among at least six people killed as unusually severe October storms destroyed homes, downed trees and knocked out power in several states, authorities said Friday.
The thunderstorms, some spawning tornadoes and high winds, destroyed homes in Michigan and Indiana and collapsed a trailer in Kentucky as they struck Thursday and early Friday.
In Washington state, where one person died, a floating bridge buffeted by powerful wind was closed, and tens of thousands of homes and businesses lost electricity.
The bodies of Duane Bentley and Susan Bentley, both in their 50s, were recovered Friday morning, hours after tornadoes, strong winds and oversized hail pushed through much of Michigan, overturning vehicles and destroying homes.
The Bentleys' home was ripped off its foundation and sent into a nearby pond in Ingham County's Locke Township, near Lansing, police said.
A 29-year-old man was killed when strong wind collapsed his home around him in Kalkaska County.
In Millington Township, a 14-month-old boy in a crib escaped injury after apparently being tossed about 40 feet by a tornado that destroyed a home early Friday, fire officials said.
A neighbor found the baby under a pile of debris, still in the crib.
"Sometimes miracles happen," firefighter Dan Detgen said.
National Weather Service officials in Gaylord believe as many as four tornadoes, plus a water spout over an area lake, may have touched down in Kalkaska, Cheboygan, Alpena and Mio. Tornadoes were confirmed in eight Michigan counties, and weather service crews were still evaluating the damage in some areas.
"This is extremely rare," said David Lawrence, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Gaylord. "When you're this deep into the month of October, it's a very rare event."
A line of thunderstorms that rumbled through Kentucky produced several tornadoes, smashing mobile homes and injuring at least 11 people in Owensboro. The most serious injury was a broken leg, said Richard Payne, Daviess County director of emergency management.
The storms forced officials to briefly close the Glover Cary Bridge, which carries traffic across the Ohio River between Indiana and Kentucky. A Kentucky Transportation Cabinet inspector was called to check the structure following an apparent tornado, but no damage was found, cabinet spokesman Keith Todd said.
In Indiana, authorities declared a state of emergency after a tornado hit Nappanee, about 20 miles southeast of South Bend. Police said five people were taken to hospitals with minor injuries and 200 to 250 buildings were damaged, half of them severely. Among the businesses damaged there were three recreation vehicle plants that are among the city's largest employers.
In rural northeastern Missouri, the state Highway Patrol said Kent Ensor, 44, and Kristy Secrease, 25, had sought refuge in Secrease's mobile home in Monroe County as a tornado approached. Their bodies were found about 400 feet from where the home had been.
The mobile home's frame was found three-quarters of a mile away, with debris as far as two miles away. The National Weather Service said the storm traveled a mile and had winds as high as 135 mph.
A tornado in Pensacola, Fla., sent mall shoppers and children at the Greater Little Rock Baptist Church's daycare center running for safety just before the twister hit Thursday morning, said Escambia County sheriff's spokesman Glenn Austin.
In western Washington, where wind gusts reached 66 mph Thursday, a woman was injured when the top of a tree hit her in the head in Kent, fire officials said. A Seattle police patrol boat, responding to an emergency call of a kite boarder being dragged north on Lake Washington, found a 44-year-old man floating face down off Kirkland on the east side of the lake, police said.
The wind resulted in a three-hour precautionary closure of State Route 104 across Hood Canal, which separates the Kitsap and Olympia peninsulas.
Associated Press writers David Aguilar and David Runk in Detroit, Alan Scher Zagier in Paris, Mo., Melissa Nelson in Pensacola, Fla., and Tom Coyne in Nappanee, Ind., contributed to this report.
Deadly storms kill 6
WILLIAMSTON, Mich. &