SEVERE WEATHER BEFORE CHRISTMAS KILLS TEN, DISRUPTS U.S. TRAVEL

Dec 24, 2015 by

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Photographed through raindrops on a window, an airliner arrives at Reagan National Airport in Washington, December 23, 2015. Unseasonably warm, wet and foggy weather is causing travel delays to many cities along the East Coast. Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Updated | At least ten people, including a seven-year-old boy and a teenaged girl, were killed Wednesday when storms and tornadoes ripped through the south and midwest.

More than a dozen tornadoes touched down in Mississippi, according to a preliminary report, Storm Prediction Center meteorologist Matt Mosier told CBS News. A tornado that touched down in Holly Springs was responsible for the death of the boy—who authorities said was with family inside a car that got picked up by the storm—and one other person in Marshall County

The sheriff in neighboring Benton County reported three storm-related deaths Wednesday, and at least 40 others were injured in six counties across the northern part of the state. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency declared a Level III State of Emergency and a spokesman for the agency said that a man and a woman had been killed in Perry County. They were identified Thursday as Ann Yzaguirre, 69, and Antonio Yzaguirre, 70.

In Arkansas, 18-year-old Michaela Remus died after storm winds uprooted a tree and knocked it through the roof into her bedroom. Her one-and-a-half-year-old sister was trapped inside the house by the incident but was pulled out of the home safely.

RTX2006K A storm damaged house is pictured outside of Atkins, Arkansas in this December 23, 2015 handout photo. High winds and heavy rain caused a large tree to become uprooted and fall on the house, trapping an 18-year-old woman and an 18-month-old toddler. Emergency personnel were able to rescue the toddler, but the woman was pronounced dead. Pope County Sheriff’s Office/Reuters

By Thursday afternoon, a total of three deaths had been reported in Tennessee and the tally in Benton County, Mississippi had gone up to four for a total of at least six deaths in that state. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency Thursday morning, citing damage in at least seven counties. Under the state of emergency, local governments can request state resources for response and recovery.

“Deborah and I send our thoughts and prayers to the families who have lost a loved one, those who are injured, and those who will now have to rebuild,” Bryant said in a statement Thursday. “The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi Department of Public Safety are continuing their disaster operations to get resources to the most heavily affected areas. Mississippians are resilient in difficult times, and we will meet this challenge head on for those that are in need.”

Heavy rains hit Alabama Wednesday and caused flooding and road closures in several counties. The Weather Channel reported risk of flash flooding Thursday morning for parts of Georgia, upstate South Carolina, western North Carolina, southwest Virginia and the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore metro areas. The rain has already caused flash flooding in parts of northern Georgia and mudslides in Macon County, North Carolina.

Less severe weather elsewhere—rain and fog— caused flight cancellations and delays at some of the country’s major airports in New York, Boston, Washington, Chicago and Atlanta. According to the flight tracking site FlightAware, Wednesday saw 5,300 delays and 430 cancellations by evening, when a typical travel day would have 4,000 delays and 150 cancellations. By midday Thursday, FlightAware said there had been 4,276 delays and 550 cancellations, with the highest percentage of delays in Atlanta.

Airlines are moving and adding flights to accommodate the high volume of holiday travelers, the Associated Press reports.

While some parts of the west might see a white Christmas, the northeast remains unseasonably warm, with highs of 73 and 65 degrees forecast in New York City on Thursday and Friday respectively and temperatures in Boston in the 60s. Christmas Eve highs in Atlanta and Charlotte are also forecast in the mid-70s.

This story has been updated to include additional deaths and other new information.

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