MAYFIELD, Ky. (AP) — Crews searched Thursday night for four children from an Amish family who were swept away while trying to cross a storm-swollen creek with a horse and buggy, officials said.
A mother and six children were crossing a creek in Dublin on the Graves-Hickman county line when their buggy overturned in the water, Graves County sheriff's dispatcher Jerry Beasley said.
"The mother and two of the children made it to ground safely and called for assistance. At this time we still have four children (missing) in the water,” Beasley said.
Crews from multiple agencies and multiple counties were searching into the night for the missing children, who ranged in age from 5 months to 11 years old.
Emergency crews are readying rescue boats to aid in the search. Around 75 people were searching the creek area on foot with flashlights, calling out for the children. The rural area is about 25 miles south of Paducah. The accident happened as severe storms pummeled the nation's midsection and southeast, leaving behind a trail of downed trees and splintered power lines.
Authorities say the storms may have whirled a tornado at eastern Arkansas on Thursday evening. Winds between 60 and 70 mph toppled trees there, blocking roads and damaging homes across the state.
Heavy rain and winds from 60 to 80 mph blew through the Memphis, Tennessee area Thursday night, said National Weather Service meteorologist Corey Chaskelson. He said several possible tornadoes were spotted in northwestern Tennessee and eastern Arkansas. On Highway 51 near Memphis, sheets of rain fell, tree limbs blew onto the road and lightning lit up the evening sky.
Rudy Gay of the Memphis Grizzlies tweeted that he and others took shelter in a closet during the storm, which interrupted a photo shoot. There was no immediate word of serious injuries. Torrential rains also drenched parts of Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi.
More than 27,000 people in Arkansas were without power, according to estimates from Entergy Arkansas, the state's largest electric utility. Winds toppled trees and blew out power lines, blocking roads and damaging several homes across the state.
Flash floods crept up on parts of northern Arkansas' Independence County, said Tommy Jackson, a spokesman for the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management. There weren't any reports of fatalities, he said. Some authorities urged people to stay inside as forecasts called for hail and isolated tornadoes.
In Nashville, Tennessee, where it rained most of the day, emergency officials told workers to get home by 6 p.m. and stay there. Workers placed sandbags around Vanderbilt Children's Hospital to guard against flooding.
Meanwhile, further north, winter weather beat down on Nebraska, where authorities shut down part of an interstate and reported a rash of accidents. The National Weather Service predicted about five inches of snow to hit the area from Lincoln to Topeka.