DANGEROUS WEATHER: Tornado touches down in Miss. as deadly storms move through heartland

Storm warning

A deadly line of storms was racing across America’s heartland Wednesday afternoon, triggering at least one tornado in Mississippi, and numerous watches and warnings from Texas to Indiana.

Three people were reportedly killed, including a child, after a strong line of tornados touched down in northwest Mississippi leaving at least 20 homes damaged or destroyed and many injured.

Storm Prediction Center meteorologist Matt Mosier says a preliminary report shows that there were 14 tornados to touchdown in Mississippi.

Mosier says the tornado raced for more than half an hour for about 100 miles. He says it went from the Mississippi River to the northern part of the state including Holly Springs and eventually crossed the border of southwest Tennessee.

In Arkansas, a tree blew over onto a house killing an 18-year-old woman and trapping a 1-year-old child inside, authorities said. Rescuers pulled the toddler safely from the home.

In Mississippi, Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett said the only confirmed casualty was a dog killed by storm debris. Planes at a small airport overturned and an unknown number of people were injured.

“I’m looking at some horrific damage right now,” the mayor said. “Sheet metal wrapped is around trees, there are overturned airplanes, a building is just destroyed.”

Television images showed the tornado appeared to be on the ground for more than 10 minutes. Interstate 55 was closed in both directions as the tornado approached, the Mississippi Highway Patrol said.

The biggest threat for tornadoes was in a region of 3.7 million people in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas and parts of Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky, according to the national Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma. Twisters were possible from midday Wednesday through the evening.

Jim Belles, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Memphis, Tennessee, confirmed a tornado had touched down Wednesday in Coahoma County in northwest Mississippi.

He says they have received reports of damage and unconfirmed reports of injuries. The storm is moving northeast.

In Tennessee, emergency officials worried that powerful winds could turn holiday yard decorations into projectiles, the same way gusts can fling patio furniture in springtime storms, said Marty Clements, director of the Madison County Emergency Management Agency in Jackson, the state’s largest city between Memphis and Nashville.

“If you go through these neighborhoods, there are a lot of people very proud of what they’ve put out and they’ve got stuff everywhere – all these ornaments and deer and everything else,” Clements said. “They’re not manufactured to withstand that kind of wind speed, so they become almost like little missiles.”

Tornado warnings for southern Illinois and southeastern Missouri expired earlier Wednesday.

In Alabama, heavy rains overnight left some downtown Mobile streets flooded during the morning rush hour. Across Mobile Bay in the small town of Loxley, Mandy Wilson watched the angry gray sky and told drivers to be careful as she worked a cash register at Love’s Travel Stop.

“It’s very ugly; it’s very scary,” Wilson said. “There’s an 18-wheeler turned over on I-10. There’s water standing really bad. It’s a really interesting way to spend Christmas Eve eve.”

In parts of Georgia, including Atlanta, a flood watch was posted through Friday evening as more than 4 inches of rain could fall, the National Weather Service said.

The threat of severe weather just before Christmas is unusual, but not unprecedented, said Greg Carbin, a meteorologist at the national Storm Prediction Center. On Christmas Day in 2012, a storm system spawned several tornadoes, damaging homes from Texas to Alabama.

Forecasters said that by Wednesday night, the severe weather threat could shift east into the southern Appalachian Mountain region.

Elsewhere, the Northeast enjoyed spring-like temperatures as people rushed to finish last-minute shopping. Those on the slopes out West got their fair share of fresh powder.

In a reversal of a typical Christmas, forecasters expected New York to be in the mid-60s on Christmas Eve — about the same temperatures as Los Angeles. Only about half of the nation should expect the possibility of a white Christmas.

Once the strong storms clear out, forecasters say, the high temperature in Atlanta on Christmas Eve is expected to be in the mid-70s. That could break the record for Dec. 24, which is 72 degrees set in 1984, according to weather service records.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: FOXNews.com
DANGEROUS WEATHER: Tornado touches down in Miss. as deadly storms move through heartland

Add Comments


You may also like...