The Norman Transcript

Nation/World

July 10, 2014

Cleanup from deadly storm starts in Eastern states

SMITHFIELD, N.Y. — Residents of this rural central New York town on Wednesday picked through debris from homes battered by a deadly tornado, and utility crews worked to restore power in several Eastern states hit by severe storms.

In all, five people died Tuesday as strong thunderstorms blew down buildings, trees and utility lines and left hundreds of thousands without power into Wednesday.

Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley said Kimberly Hilliard, 35; her 4-month-old daughter, Paris Newman; Virginia Warner, 70; and Arnie Allen, 53, were killed in the rural town of Smithfield, between Utica and Syracuse.

He said four homes were destroyed and numerous others were damaged, with Allen’s two-story home blown hundreds of feet before it landed on an unoccupied house.

In Manchester, Maryland, a tree fell at the River Valley Ranch summer camp, killing one child and injuring six others headed to a shelter.

Tornadoes also touched down in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Barbara Watson, the meteorologist leading the weather service survey team in New York, said the Smithfield tornado’s winds were at least 100 mph and certainly reached undetermined higher speeds.

Gary M. Sprague lives across the street from Hilliard’s property, where three vehicles were partially buried in some of the wreckage from the torn-apart house. Wood from the home’s framing and walls was scattered around the lawn, and a hot tub sat amid the rubble.

Sprague’s home was untouched, but he said he knew immediately afterward that things were bad at his neighbor’s.

“If they were in it, they had to be gone,” he said. “You can only assume the worst at that point. This is horrible, just horrible.”

Madison County Undersheriff John Ball said the dead mother was found next to an outdoor wood boiler and a neatly piled stack of wood, which were untouched. The baby was found about 100 feet away in a field. Neighbors were helping sift through the rubble.

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