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Rains in Tennessee and Kentucky flood roads, causing at least four deaths

Updated:
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Heavy rains battered Tennessee and Kentucky, closing schools, forcing people in low-lying areas to evacuate their homes and turning roads deadly.

Tennessee authorities blamed at least four deaths on the storms, which dumped nearly 4 inches on the state Sunday. More rain was forecast for the region Monday.

``It's probably only going to get worse for some areas,'' said Sam Herron, a National Weather Service forecaster.

A 17-year-old boy drowned Sunday while trying to push a stalled pickup truck out of high water in Lewisburg. Three people died after their pickup hydroplaned off a roadway and struck trees in Robertson County, said Beth Tucker Womack, state Safety Department spokeswoman.

In Kentucky, at least 60 homes were severely damaged or destroyed in the southeast counties of Harlan and Knox, and seven other counties reported flooding, mud slides and power outages.

``We're getting as many people and resources into it as we can to try to get it under control,'' Ray Bowman, spokesman for the Kentucky Division of Emergency Management, said Monday.

Four to five inches of rain fell during a 24-hour period ending Monday morning with a few isolated spots recording six inches of precipitation, according to meteorologist John Pelson at the weather service's Jackson office.

Emergency management spokesman Everett Jones said about 1,000 households were without power Sunday night and a shelter had been set up in an abandoned building in Harlan, in the southeast corner of the state.

Some parts of Kentucky remained under a flash flood warning, as heavy rain flooded secondary roads, damaged businesses and caused some schools to close.

``Probably, you're looking at three out of every five schools with accessibility problems,'' Knox County Schools spokesman Russ Oaks said.

More than a dozen roads were deemed impassable because of high water, at least one bridge was heavily damaged and more than 100 people were evacuated in Tennessee's Sevier County, in the far eastern part of the state.

Rescue Squad Captain Jeff McCarter said there were at least 75 evacuations in the Pigeon Forge area alone, some 20 miles southeast of Knoxville.

``We're still in place in case something new develops,'' McCarter said late Sunday night. ``We're expecting another round of showers and we're going to be prepared.''

In western Tennessee, 3.59 inches of rain had fallen at Memphis International Airport by Sunday evening, easily eclipsing the previous record for the day of 1.92 inches in 1987.


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