Spring snowstorms swept across the Rockies, southern Plains and the East Coast Saturday, while residents in the Southeast cleaned up from a swarm of tornadoes that lashed four states, killing three people in Alabama.
A spring storm moved out of Colorado after dumping 41 inches of snow on the town of Cuchara between 10 a.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service said. Snow accumulations in the Cuchara pass reached 5 and 6 feet.In the East, snow fell from New England to Virginia. A winter weather advisory was posted for Long Island, where from 3 to 5 inches of snow fell over inland areas.
Cold air also accompanied the snow in the East. Freeze warnings were issued for parts of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and the mountains of South Carolina.
Snow advisories were in effect for much of western Texas, where some areas were hit by 4 inches of snow. Accumulations included 4 inches at Perryton and 2 inches at Western Amarillo, Bushland, Dalhart and Hereford. In the Oklahoma panhandle, 4 inches of snow fell at Guymon and Boise City.
It was a hot day in Florida. A reading of 91 degrees broke a record for the day in West Palm Beach, and a reading of 86 degrees tied a record in Key West.
Tornadoes touched down Friday in parts of Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina, causing deaths, injuries and widespread damage.
Three members of one family were killed in Munford, Ala., about eight miles north of Talladega, when high winds roared through a mobile home park in the pre-dawn hours of Friday.
Another twister skipped through the Atlanta area, hitting Douglasville and Marietta.
The tornado touched down in Douglasville, 20 miles west of Atlanta, carving a three-mile swath of destruction causing a dozen injuries but no deaths.
The twister splintered century-old oaks and scattered two-ton motor homes like children's toys. Concrete and steel buildings were twisted and strewn across streets blocked by damaged cars. The roof of City Hall lay crumbled on the city square.
Twelve injuries were reported, but only two were critical. Initial damage estimates were in the millions of dollars.
"It started getting darker and darker, like a fog or something," said Sue Davis, who was driving with her family in a van when the tornado struck. "Then, it was like we were being bombarded by rocks or some-thing."
Josh Davis said he saw "a big ball of fire, and then a tree came across us. Me and my grandma jumped in the back (of the van)," he said.
The family was trapped in the van for 30 minutes by debris before passers-by could free them.
"We were all saying a prayer," Sue Davis said. "We were saying, `God, just take care of us. Look after us.' "
In Marietta, about 15 miles northwest of Atlanta, the twister blew down a pine tree that trapped a woman in her car. Police had to cut the car apart to free her, but her injuries were minor.
Heavy property damage was reported in the Marietta-Smyrna area of Cobb County, northwest of Atlanta. Students at Osborne High School had to be evacuated after an apparent tornado struck the school, causing damage but no injuries.
A neighborhood of apartments and condominiums behind Cobb General Hospital was heavily dam-aged.
"It was just a loud rumble, tumble type sound, and the building started shaking, and stuff started flying all over the place," said Miranda White, whose third-floor apartment had its roof ripped away. "That's when I realized that a tornado was hitting."
Emergency medical workers brought a pregnant woman out of her apartment on a stretcher. She was unharmed but had gone into labor.