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Spring storm brings ice and snow, sure, but why tornadoes?

A record-setting spring storm has killed three people, downed power lines, snapped large trees, and closed roads, schools, and businesses across the Midwest and Southeast.

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A plow moves snow to the side of a sidewalk along West Boulevard in the historic district of Rapid City, S.D., on Thursday, April 11. Tens of thousands of residents in eastern South Dakota remained without power Wednesday as they hunkered down for the second wave of a record-setting spring storm that already downed power lines, snapped large trees and closed roads, schools and businesses.

Benjamin Brayfield / Rapid City Journal / AP

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A strong spring storm that socked the Midwest with ice and heavy, wet snow made its way east, raking the South with tornadoes Thursday, with three deaths blamed on the rough weather and thousands of people without power.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said Thursday one person died and several people were injured after a reported tornado struck Kemper County in the far-eastern part of the state.

At Contract Fabricators Inc. in Kemper County, where authorities said one person died and another was injured, bent pieces of tin hung from the heavily damaged building. A tractor trailer was twisted and overturned. Debris from the business was strewn through the woods across the street.

Tabatha Lott, a dispatcher in Noxubee County, said there were "numerous reports of injuries" in the town of Shuqualak, though it wasn't immediately clear how many. Flynn also said there are reports of damaged buildings and many power outages.

The T-shaped system first swept across the nation's midsection Wednesday night and pummeled portions of Missouri, where the National Weather Service said Thursday that an EF-2 tornado appears to have damaged dozens of homes in the St. Louis suburb of Hazelwood. That category of tornado generally packs winds of 113 to 157 mph.

Derek Cody, an amateur storm chaser who works at East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, just south of Shuqualak (pronounced SHUG-a-lock), told The Associated Press that he drove north to the small town to try to catch a glimpse of the tornado.

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