Official: At least 3 confirmed dead in Mississippi after tornadoes sweep through

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The latest on the severe storms moving across the U.S. and the unusually warm December weather (all times local):

10:30 p.m.

Authorities have identified the 18-year-old Arkansas woman killed in severe weather.

The Pope County Sheriff’s Office says Michaela Remus died Wednesday when powerful winds uprooted a tree and knocked it onto a house near Atkins. A 1-year-old child inside the home was injured.

Her death was one of at least six weather-related fatalities in the U.S. on Wednesday.

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10 p.m.

An official says a 7-year-old boy was killed during a tornado Wednesday in Holly Springs, Mississippi.

Marshall County Coroner James Anderson says the child was inside a car with relatives when the storm picked up and tossed the vehicle.

He could not say how many others were in the car, but noted all were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. He did not have any further details about their conditions.

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9:15 p.m.

The Tennessee Department of Health has confirmed that two people were killed in severe storms Wednesday.

Officials said the two deaths – one male and one female – occurred in Perry County. No further details were available.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency says the affected counties have reported debris across roads and some communications issues.

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9:05 p.m.

High winds knocked down trees as the storms entered northwest Alabama, but no significant damage was reported immediately.

In south Alabama, the National Weather Service said the rainfall total of 3.93 inches broke the precipitation record for Dec. 23 at the Mobile Regional Airport.


 

8:15 p.m.

At least three people have been confirmed dead in Mississippi after multiple tornadoes swept through the state.

Greg Flynn, a spokesman for the Mississippi Emergency management Agency, says at least one death was reported in Marshall County Wednesday. He says there are reports of other deaths, but could not confirm any more.

Flynn also reports more than 40 injuries in six counties but that number could rise as the night goes on.

This is the National Weather Underground forecast for Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015. A long cold front will set off a few showers and storms in the Gulf Coast states and along the Eastern Seaboard. Snow showers will develop over much of the Intermountain West and the Pacific Northwest. The Southwest could see a few rain showers as well. (Weather Underground via AP)
This is the National Weather Underground forecast for Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015. A long cold front will set off a few showers and storms in the Gulf Coast states and along the Eastern Seaboard. Snow showers will develop over much of the Intermountain West and the Pacific Northwest. The Southwest could see a few rain showers as well. (Weather Underground via AP)

 

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office, which neighbors Marshall County, also confirmed at least two dead and between two and four people reported missing.

Neither agency had any details as to ages or gender of the deceased.

The Benton County Sheriff’s Office says search-and-rescue crews are currently doing a house-by-house search to make sure residents are accounted for.

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7:30 p.m. EST

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 Wednesday. 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.

About an hour ago, Mosier says three other tornados touched down at the same time in northern Mississippi.

But Mosier says the storm system is indicating that the strong tornados are seemingly beginning to wind down. He says overnight winds are expected along with the possibility of isolated tornados.

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6:30 p.m.

In Como, Mississippi, Frances May said the storm didn’t seem very violent when it passed a couple of miles from her home, yet she later saw the remains of three or four homes that were destroyed.

“There are some houses that were blown away,” said May Wednesday, who runs the Como Inn. “They were brick houses on a slab. The roofs came off and most of the walls are gone.”

The damage was very isolated, she said: Diners were still eating at a downtown steakhouse in the tiny town just a few miles from the devastation.

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4:40 p.m.

A mayor in a small Mississippi town says a tornado damaged or destroyed numerous houses just outside the town limits.

Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett said the only confirmed casualty was a dog killed by storm debris, but as many as 20 homes may have been hit Wednesday.

Luckett says the town is opening its civic center to offer shelter for anyone who needs it.

The storm also wreaked havoc at a small airport where planes were overturned.

Luckett says there is horrific damage, including sheet metal wrapped around trees.

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3:55 p.m.

A large tornado is moving across Mississippi and authorities have closed down an Interstate 55 in the northern part of the state.

Television images on The Weather Channel showed what appeared to be a twister moving along the ground for several minutes near Clarksdale, Mississippi.

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.

Forecasters have warned of a “particularly dangerous situation” on Wednesday as they issued new tornado watches for large swaths of Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas.

The storm system is moving east across the South on Wednesday and has killed one person in Arkansas.

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12:15 p.m.

Forecasters warned of a “particularly dangerous situation” as they issued new tornado watches for large swaths of Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas.

The storm system is moving east across the South on Wednesday and has killed one person in Arkansas.

The national Storm Prediction Center said the greatest risk for a few “intense, long-tracked tornadoes” will be through Wednesday night.

Federal officials said the last time the Storm Prediction Center issued a “particularly dangerous situation” alert was in June 2014, when two massive EF4 twisters devastated a rural Nebraska town, killing two people.

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11:40 a.m.

Authorities in western Arkansas say an 18-year-old woman was killed and a 1-year-old child was injured when powerful winds uprooted a tree and knocked it onto a house.

The Pope County Sheriff’s Office says five people were in the home near Atkins when the tree fell shortly before 8 a.m. Wednesday. Three people escaped unharmed but the woman and the toddler were trapped inside the home about 65 miles northwest of Little Rock.

The sheriff’s office says emergency responders pulled the child from the home. The toddler was taken to a hospital in Russellville, and no condition was immediately available.

The storms are continuing their march across the U.S., with forecasters warning of a moderate tornado risk later in the day for several Southern states.

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9:50 a.m.

Severe storms are sweeping across the country’s mid-section and a death has been reported in Arkansas.

The Pope County Sheriff’s Office says a person was killed when a tree fell on a house near Atkins, which is about 65 miles northwest of Little Rock.

No other details have been released. The storm downed trees and power lines throughout the county and authorities warned people to stay off the roads as cleanup continues.

Much of the South awoke to tornado watches and heavy rain on Wednesday. The national Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma says the biggest threat for tornadoes will be in a region of 3.7 million people in Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and parts of Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky.

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