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Severe storms rumble across U.S.

May 3, 2009 at 6:45 PM

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., May 3 (UPI) -- Funnel clouds were spotted in Alabama and Idaho Sunday and strong storms knocked out power to thousands of people, officials said.

The Birmingham (Ala.) News reported funnel clouds were spotted in Jefferson and Shelby counties in north-central Alabama but officials had not confirmed a tornado touching down. No serious damage was reported, the newspaper said.

However, the storms left more than 6,000 customers without electricity, an Alabama Power spokesman said.

KBOI-TV in Boise, Idaho, said a small funnel cloud was spotted near Emmett Sunday afternoon. However, a tornado warning expired without any touchdowns confirmed.

The storms brought dime- and quarter-sized hail, heavy rain and gusty winds up to 55 mph to parts of Idaho, the TV station said.

WTOK-TV in Meridian, Miss., said that region experienced hail, downpours, strong winds and lightning while under tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings. Trees were knocked down and there were reports of structural damage, the TV station said, and a lightning strike was thought to have started a fire in one structure.

People in Oregon were cleaning up Sunday after severe storms swept through Saturday and Sunday. The weather service was tracking down unconfirmed reports of tornado sightings.

About 4,000 Portland General Electric customers were still without electricity, down from a high of 30,000, The Oregonian reported.

David P. Cady, 59, of Southwest Portland, was killed Saturday when a tree or large branch fell on his car.

Winds up to 55 mph capsized two sailboats on the Columbia and Willamette rivers but authorities rescued the four people on board.

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