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After days of rain, high winds hit South

Associated Press / April 14, 2009
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ATLANTA - Severe weather moved across a storm-weary South yesterday, killing at least two, downing trees, and cutting power to thousands of homes.

The storm system that hit Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky, and northern Florida brought torrential rain, flooding, hail, and gusty winds to states reeling from strong storms and tornadoes last week.

Those states braced for more rough weather expected late yesterday. Tornado watches or warnings were in effect in several states.

In eastern Tennessee, McMinn County Sheriff Steve Frisbie said Michael Aaron Byers Jr., 18, was killed in Etowah early yesterday when a tree fell on his family's home as he slept. An unidentified person was killed in Atlanta after a tree fell on a car.

Many areas that were spared from yesterday's rain and hail were hit with high winds that blew over trees weakened by several days of soaking rain.

"The ground is so wet that the root system is loose, so it doesn't take a lot to blow the trees over," said Nate Mayes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Peachtree City, Ga.

High winds on the Tennessee River in northern Alabama blew the roof off covered boat slips at the Guntersville Yacht Club, causing floating docks to pull apart and blow onto US Route 431, said Anita McBurnett, emergency management director for Marshall County. Four people who live on big sailboats and yachts stored at the marina had to be rescued after their vessels blew into the river.