In many parts of the U.S., severe weather is not unusual during the holiday season -- though it often takes the form of snow and ice storms. This year is different in the Northeast and South: The Northeast is expecting springlike temperatures on Christmas Eve, while several states in the South have either experienced or are expecting tornadoes.

A "large and extremely dangerous" tornado hit the Clarksdale, Mississippi, area, killing a 7-year-old boy, CNN reported. The boy had been in a car with his family near Holly Springs.  It wasn't immediately clear how the death occurred. Two more fatalities were confirmed in Benton County, Mississippi, with at least 40 people injured statewide, CNN reported.

“These storms are setting up to resemble some severe weather outbreaks like we have seen in the past,” said Robert Latham, executive director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. “It is important that everyone has a method to receive warnings of severe weather. Having a plan ahead of time could save your life.”

The storm led to tornado watches and warnings in nine other states, as well as alerts for flash floods. Around 45 million people could be affected by holiday week storms.



In Memphis, Tennessee, a tornado warning from the National Weather Service went into effect Wednesday evening. Severe thunderstorms produced a tornado that was heading toward Nashville, the report said. The headquarters of Three Forks Fire Department in Tippah County was destroyed in the storm, the National Weather Service office in Memphis said.

"The greatest risk for a few strong tornadoes exists this evening across parts of middle Tennessee, adjacent to extreme southern Kentucky, and parts of northern Alabama and northeast Mississippi," a Storm Prediction Center alert said. "Otherwise, strong to severe storms will persist this evening into tonight across portions of the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys and central Gulf Coast states."