Winter Storms Kill Three In Southern US; NWS Issues Tornado Warnings

 
on December 26 2012 4:39 AM
NASA handout image shows storm clouds on the east coast of the United States
NASA handout image shows storm clouds on the east coast of the United States Reuters/NASA

A major storm system swept across the southern U.S. with strong winds and tornadoes and killed at least three persons and injured several others.

Blizzard conditions prevailed in nation’s midsection, leaving the holiday commuters struggle in treacherous roads. Power outages were reported in several storm-hit areas in Alabama and Mississippi.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a tornado that struck at 5 p.m. (local time) uprooted several trees in Mobile, Alabama. It knocked off power and damaged buildings, including many houses, a high school and a church.

The driver was killed when the strong winds brought down a tree onto a pickup truck in Houston area, and a 53-year- old man was killed in Louisiana when a tree fell on his house, Fox News reported.

The tornadoes damaged buildings in Southern Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana.

The storm led to a 21-vehicle pileup in a major highway in Oklahoma, leaving at least 12 injured. A woman was killed in a highway crash on icy roads near Fairview.

Widespread power outages were reported in Oklahoma City, and the NWS issued tornado warnings for some parts of Alabama, Florida and Georgia.

The storm system with heavy rains moved into Georgia early Wednesday and was expected to move to the eastern Great Lakes and northeastern region later in the day, Reuters reported.

The winter storm would continue over parts of the Gulf Coast area and southeast U.S. Tuesday night.  Blizzard warning was issued for Cleveland starting at 7 a.m. Wednesday (1200 GMT).  

The NWS predicted: “The development of a few strong tornadoes and thunderstorm wind damage over parts of the southeast us this evening and overnight and the conditions will remain favorable for a few strong and possibly long-lived tornadoes.”

Kristina Pydynowski, a senior meteorologist at Accuweather.com, has warned that travel would be "extremely treacherous, if not impossible, as the snow clogs roads, such as interstates 24, 55 and 57, and the blowing snow severely lowers visibility."

Southern Indiana had been under blizzard warning while Indianapolis could see its biggest snowfall in four years with the possibility of 10 to 12 inches of snow, Reuters reported quoting NWS meteorologist Crystal Pettet. 

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