Deadly storms, tornadoes sweep across U.S.

HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. -- A storm system forecasters called "particularly dangerous" killed at least six people as it swept across the United States on Wednesday, and officials were searching for missing residents into the night.

See Full Article

Tornadoes touched down in Indiana and Mississippi, where three were killed. The springlike storms packing strong winds killed two more in Tennessee.

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.

A 7-year-old boy died in Holly Springs, Mississippi, when the storm picked up and tossed the car he was riding in, officials said. Police there said several homes were blown off their foundations.

Slabs of metal were tangled in drooping power lines, dangling precariously alongside the road, and the smell of freshly overturned dirt and trees lingered in the air as emergency crews tended to downed power lines.

Close by, in Benton County, Mississippi, two people died and at least two were missing. Crews were searching house-by-house and to make sure residents were accounted for.

In the northwest part of the state, A tornado damaged or destroyed at least 20 homes. 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 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 120 miles 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 4 inches 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 18-year-old Michaela Remus 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 65 miles northwest of Little Rock, when winds uprooted the tree that crashed through the roof.

"It's terrible that this happened, especially at Christmas," Jones said.

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

Once the strong storms clear out, warm temperatures were expected. Highs in Atlanta and Charlotte, North Carolina, on Christmas Eve were forecast to be in the mid-70s.

Associated Press writers J 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

  • Police: Pregnant woman overdoses, charged with baby assault

    World News CTV News
    EAST BUTLER, Pa. -- A Pennsylvania woman who overdosed on heroin while pregnant and had to undergo a cesarean section is being charged with assault on her unborn child, authorities said. Kasey Dischman, 30, was roughly seven months pregnant when she injected herself with heroin she found under a couch early last Friday in her home in East Butler, about 64 kilometres north of Pittsburgh, a criminal complaint obtained by KDKA-TV shows. Source
  • Australian police charge Vatican cardinal with sex offences

    World News CTV News
    SYDNEY, Australia -- Australian police charged a top Vatican cardinal on Thursday with multiple counts of historical sexual assault offences, a stunning decision certain to rock the highest levels of the Holy See. Cardinal George Pell, Pope Francis' chief financial adviser and Australia's most senior Catholic, is the highest-ranking Vatican official to ever be charged in the church's long-running sexual abuse scandal. Source
  • RRRoll Up the Rim in the summer? Yes, it's happening now

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    It’s time to double down on Canada 150 celebrations with a double-double. Tim Hortons has announced a special edition of RRRoll Up the Rim to Win that begins on June 28 and continues through July 21, 2017. Source
  • Uber customers to start paying federal sales taxes July 1

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    A ride in an Uber taxi will be a little more expensive as of Canada Day with federal tax added to the app’s taxi fares. The 2017 federal budget requires that HST and GST — which amounts to 13 per cent for Ontarians — be charged on every ridesharing trip in Canada as of July 1. Source
  • Canada reveals its team for the upcoming Invictus Games

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    The strength of Canada’s team at the upcoming Invictus Games in Toronto lies in the bond between the veterans and armed forces members who form the group, the team’s co-captain said Thursday as organizers marked the 100-day countdown to the international sporting competition. Source
  • Clark says if her government toppled, it shows B.C. legislature can't function

    Canada News CTV News
    VICTORIA -- Premier Christy Clark says she doesn't think the British Columbia legislature can work if her Liberal government is defeated in a confidence vote on Thursday. If Lt.-Gov. Judith Guichon asks for her opinion, Clark says she will tell her she hasn't seen any evidence the house can function with the NDP and Greens holding a one-vote advantage in the 87-seat legislature. Source
  • Police pilot accused of helicopter attack in Venezuelan capital

    World News CBC News
    Oscar Perez is a cop, pilot, action movie star and dog trainer. He's now also a fugitive, accused of strafing two key Venezuelan government buildings from a helicopter in a quixotic attempt to set off a revolt against President Nicolas Maduro. Source
  • Saretzky guilty on all charges

    Canada News Toronto Sun
    LETHBRIDGE — It took jurors three hours Wednesday to convict Derek Saretzky of three counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of a little girl, her dad and an unrelated senior. The six-man, six-woman Court of Queen’s Bench jury found Saretzky planned and deliberated the Sept. Source
  • Kittens rescued from abuse in Prince Albert, Sask., die

    Canada News CBC News
    Five kittens rescued from abuse and attempts to light them on fire last month in Prince Albert, Sask., have died. "It's a very sad ending," said Liana Maloney, manager of the Prince Albert Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Source
  • Bono, the Edge donating time for Canada Day concert, government says

    Canada News CBC News
    U2 members Bono and the Edge are donating their time as a "birthday present to Canada" and will not be paid a performance fee for appearing at Canada 150 celebrations on Parliament Hill July 1, a spokesperson from Canadian Heritage says. Source