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Tornadoes and severe storms across southern US leave at least 11 dead

Tornadoes and severe storms across southern US leave at least 11 deadAt least 11 people were killed as storms raged across the southern US on Wednesday, causing rare Christmas-time tornadoes, officials have said.

The storms also caused thousands of flight delays on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

The National Weather Service said on Thursday that there was a diminished risk of severe storms as search and rescue efforts were underway in regions that endured the most significant storm and tornado damage.

At least seven people were killed in the state of Mississippi and at least three in Tennessee, officials said. Mississippi governor Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency on Thursday.

“Mississippians are resilient in difficult times, and we will meet this challenge head on for those that are in need,” Bryant said in a statement.

Michaela Remus, 18, died in Arkansas after a tree crashed into her bedroom, according to the Pope County sheriff’s office. Remus’s one-year-old sister was sleeping in the bedroom with her but rescuers were able to pull her from the home.

“It’s terrible that this happened, especially at Christmas,” said Pope county sheriff Shane Jones.

Thousands of people lost power from Mississippi to Michigan during the storms. Though the risk for severe storms diminished in the south, forecasters warned of a lingering chance of flash flooding, heavy rains and winds.

Officials said a seven-year-old boy died in Holly Springs, Mississippi when a tornado swept through the city and tossed over the car he was in. Two people were also killed and two others were missing in nearby Benton County.

In Tennessee, a 22-year-old man died in Rhea County and a 70-year-old man and 69-year-old woman died in Perry County.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said that the agency had recorded more than 40 injuries, including amputations, before dawn on Thursday.

Source: Guardian
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