Tornadoes touch down in Mississippi, Indiana killing 6

ATLANTA - A storm system forecasters called "particularly dangerous" killed at least six people as it swept across the country Wednesday.

See Full Article

Tornadoes touched down in Indiana and Mississippi, where three were killed.

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

Two others were killed in Tennessee.

Authorities in Mississippi did not have details of those dead after multiple tornadoes hit the state.

In Benton County, where two deaths occurred and at least two people were missing, search-and-rescue crews were doing a house-by-house search to make sure residents were accounted for.

A tornado damaged or destroyed at least 20 homes in the northwest part of the state. 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 is wrapped 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.

After an EF-1 tornado struck the south Indianapolis suburb of Greenwood, television stations showed pictures of damage including a portion of a roof blown off a veterinary office.

The Tennessee Department of Health confirmed Wednesday night that two people were killed in severe storms. Officials said the deaths - one male and one female - occurred in Perry County. No further details were available.

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. The centre issued a "particularly dangerous situation" alert for the first time since June 2014, when two massive EF4 twisters devastated a rural Nebraska town, killing two people.

The greatest risk for a few "intense, long-tracked tornadoes" will be through Wednesday night.

About 193 kilometres east of the tornado, Brandi Holland, a convenience store clerk in Tupelo, Mississippi, said people were reminded of a tornado that damaged or destroyed more than 2,000 homes and businesses in April 2014.

"They're opening all our tornado shelters because they say there's an 80 per cent chance of a tornado today," Holland said.

Elsewhere, skiers on the slopes out West got a fresh taste of powder and most people in the Northeast enjoyed spring-like temperatures as they finished up last-minute Christmas shopping.

"It's too warm for me. I don't like it. I prefer the cold in the winter, in December. Gives you more of that Christmas feel," said Daniel Flores, a concierge from the Bronx, his light jacket zipped open as he shopped in Manhattan with his three children.

Only about half of the nation, mostly in the West, should expect the possibility of a white Christmas.

In the small coastal town of Loxley, Alabama, Mandy Wilson watched the angry grey 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 102 millimetres was expected, 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.

Twisters hit southeast Mississippi exactly a year ago, killing five people and injuring dozens of others. On Christmas Day in 2012, a storm system spawned several tornadoes, damaging homes from Texas to Alabama.

Emergency officials in Tennessee 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 neighbourhoods, 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."

In Arkansas, Pope County Sheriff Shane Jones said the 18-year-old woman was killed when a tree crashed into her bedroom. The woman and her 1 1/2-year-old sister were sleeping in a bedroom of the house near Atkins about 105 kilometres northwest of Little Rock, when winds uprooted the tree that crashed through the roof.

-----

Associated Press writers Alexandra Olson in New York; Claudia Lauer in Little Rock, Arkansas; and Jay Reeves in Birmingham, Alabama, contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 2 Canadians among dead in Mexico nightclub shooting [Photos]

    World News Toronto Sun
    CANCUN, Mexico — Two Canadians are among five people killed today in a shooting attack at an electronic music festival in Mexico’s Caribbean coast resort of Playa del Carmen. And the Canadian government says at least two Canadians were among the injured in the same attack. Source
  • Unethical behaviour? Following Bahamas trip, Trudeau investigated over use of Aga Khan’s helicopter

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    OTTAWA — The federal Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner has launched an investigation into the circumstances of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s New Year’s holiday in the Bahamas, Postmedia Network has learned, the first time a sitting prime minister has come under scrutiny by the independent parliamentary watchdog. Source
  • 'I fought back': A mother's fight to clear her name in toddler death

    Canada News CTV News
    Two decades after her toddler Jenna was brutally murdered by a teenaged babysitter, Brenda Waudby is finally getting the opportunity to grieve. The single mother from Peterborough, Ont., has never had the opportunity to properly mourn the loss of her almost two-year-old daughter because she spent nine years trying to clear her name as a murder suspect in the case and another seven years refuting allegations of child abuse. Source
  • British pound drops to lowest since 1985 as Theresa May to outline Brexit plan

    World News CBC News
    The British pound fell to its lowest since 1985 on Monday after speculation ramped up that British Prime Minister Theresa May will lay out her plans for a so-called "hard Brexit" from the EU to European lawmakers tomorrow. Source
  • UN official: 10,000 civilians killed in Yemen conflict

    World News CTV News
    SANAA, Yemen -- The United Nations' humanitarian aid official in Yemen said Monday that the civilian death toll in the nearly two-year conflict has reached 10,000, with 40,000 others wounded. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs' Jamie McGoldrick told reporters the figure is based on lists of victims gathered by health facilities and the actual number might be higher. Source
  • Car vs. bike: Driver pushing cyclist, caught on video

    Canada News CTV News
    Ottawa police say they will not lay charges after a startling confrontation captured on video, in which a driver can be seen using his vehicle to push a cyclist at an intersection. The video shows a man on a bike and another man in a grey car arguing with each other at a busy intersection in Ottawa, where bike lanes run alongside vehicle lanes. Source
  • Kids born to opioid-addicted moms seem to fare poorly in school

    World News CBC News
    Neonatal abstinence syndrome occurs when addictive drugs such as opioids or sedatives pass through the placenta during pregnancy. (Torsten Mangner/Flickr) Children exposed to addictive drugs in the womb may be more likely to perform poorly in school, Australian researchers report. Source
  • Ethics watchdog investigates Trudeau's vacation in the Bahamas

    Canada News CBC News
    Canada's ethics commissioner has launched an investigation into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's family vacation to the Aga Khan's private island home in the Bahamas. In a letter to Conservative ethics critic Blain Calkins that is stamped "Confidential" and was obtained by CBC News, Mary Dawson said she is "satisfied" the issues he has raised about Trudeau's travel meet the requirements for an investigation. Source
  • New Brunswick university establishes new cybersecurity institute

    Canada News CTV News
    FREDERICTON -- The University of New Brunswick opened a new cybersecurity institute Monday in hopes of establishing an educational hub for one of the most pressing issues in the information age. University officials, industry partners and members of the federal and provincial governments announced the launch of the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity in Fredericton. Source
  • World’s 8 richest men own as much as 3.6 billion poorest

    World News Toronto Sun
    DAVOS, Switzerland — The gap between the super-rich and the poorest half of the global population is starker than previously thought, with just eight men, from Bill Gates to Michael Bloomberg, owning as much wealth as 3.6 billion people, according to an analysis by Oxfam released Monday. Source