The deep south has been known for extreme weather conditions, but that doesn’t stop a tornado from being something you don’t want to witness firsthand.
Christmas day, storm weather released possibly 34 tornadoes, killing at least three people, and according to Bill Bunting of the National Weather Service’s Severe Storms Prediction Center, it’s not over.
The severe storm started pounding Texas, then moved on to Louisiana and visited homes in Mississippi. In Mobile, Alabama, a wide funnel cloud was seen barreling across the city as lightning flashed, says ABC News.
“Conditions don’t look quite as volatile over a large area as we saw on Christmas day but there will be a risk of tornadoes, some of them could be rather strong, across eastern portions of North Carolina and the northeastern part of South Carolina.”
Over 280,000 customers are still without power from Texas to Florida, with 100,000 without power in Little Rock, Arkansas alone. One Mobile resident told the press:
“We’ve got a lot of damage, we’ve got people hurt. We’ve had homes that are 90 percent destroyed.”
In the Houston area a tree fell onto a pickup truck, killing the driver. In Louisiana, a man died when a tree fell on his house, and a 28-year-old woman had a fatal collision on a snowy highway near Fairview, Oklahoma, according to the Associated Press.
Blizzard warnings were issued Tuesday, making highways dangerously slick heading into one of the busiest travel days of the year in at least eight states.
Teresa Mason and her boyfriend panicked when they saw the tornado roaring toward them in southern Mississippi, but she says they were actually saved when a tree fell onto the truck:
“[We] got in the truck and made it out there to the road. And that’s when the tornado was over us. And it started jerking us and spinning us. This tree got us in the truck and kept us from being sucked up into the tornado.”
Extreme weather created an eight-foot deep sinkhole in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Alma Jackson said that a concrete tank in her backyard dropped into the sinkhole:
“It’s really very disturbing. Because it’s on Christmas day, and then to see this big hole in the ground and not have any explanation, and not be able to cover it. And the rain is pouring down.”
The last time a series of tornadoes hit the Gulf Coast area around Christmas Day was in 2009, when 22 tornadoes struck on Christmas Eve, National Weather Service spokesman Chris Vaccaro said in an email.
Continue to watch weather reports in your area.