LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Tornadoes fueled by unusually warm winter air sliced through parts of the South and Midwest on Friday, killing at least four people, injuring dozens of others and knocking out power to thousands of homes and businesses.
Three people died in Cincinnati, a northwestern Arkansas hamlet of about 100 residents located three miles from the Oklahoma border, and a sheriff's dispatcher said there were "lots of injuries" after the twister touched down just before sunrise. Tornadoes were also reported near St. Louis, and one person was reported dead in a violent storm in south-central Missouri.
"It sucked me out of my house and carried me across the road and dropped me," Chris Sizemore of Cincinnati said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I was Superman for a while. ... You're just free-floating through the air. Trees are knocking you and smacking you down."
Sizemore said he tried to crawl under his bed and cling to the carpet as the winds shook a pecan tree standing over the house.
"I thought that pecan was coming through the upstairs," he said, nursing cuts, scrapes and bruises to his arms, knees and back.
He said he opened his eyes as he flew, believing he wouldn't see 2011.
"I wanted to see the end coming. You're only going to see it one time and I thought that was it," he said. "It takes more than a tornado to get me."
In Missouri, Emergency Management Coordinator Brad Nash says one person died in Dent County. The National Weather Service said a storm that may have been a tornado destroyed three mobile homes and damaged other property in the county. Damage was also reported in Fort Leonard Wood, and in the Rolla area five people were injured.
"I guess it's a mess out there," said Gary Carmack, chief of the Pulaski County Ambulance District. About 20 homes were damaged in an area of the fort that houses officers.
Associated Press writer Margaret Stafford contributed to this report from Kansas City, Mo., AP photo stringer April Brown contributed to this report from Cincinnati, Ark.; Associated Press writer Kelly P. Kissel contributed to this report from Little Rock.