Freak Christmas Tornadoes Leave Seven Dead, Including A 7-Year-Old Boy, As 15 Twisters Tear Through The South

Freak Christmas Tornadoes Leave Seven Dead

A freak series of Christmas tornadoes hit the south, leaving a deadly wake of destruction. The tornadoes killed seven people and injured 40 others as they ripped through the south on Wednesday, just two days before Christmas. A 7-year-old boy was among the deceased, along with an 18-year-old girl who was killed when a tree fell onto a house in Arkansas due to the violent storms.

The Daily Mail reports that devastation was spread throughout Indiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee following a series of freak holiday storms. Numerous tornadoes were reported during the storm, which left seven people dead and 40 others injured. The 7-year-old boy died in Holly Springs, Mississippi, when a tornado lifted the vehicle he was riding in and tossed it into the air. The devastation in the heavily hit Holly Springs was noted as homes were ripped from their foundations, trees were mangled in the streets, and power lines were down across the community. In addition to Holly Springs, nearby Benton County was also devastated. Two people were killed and two were noted as missing following the deadly Christmas storms.

In northwest Mississippi, Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett noted widespread destruction of homes and buildings but said that there were no recorded fatalities, aside from a family pet killed by debris, during the horrifying storms. However, Luckett says that there was “horrific damage,” saying that planes were tossed around a small airport and at least 20 homes had been completely destroyed.

“I’m looking at some horrific damage right now. Sheet metal is wrapped around trees; there are overturned airplanes; a building is just destroyed.”

In Mississippi alone, emergency management services say that at least 40 people were injured in the Christmas tornadoes and that many are now homeless. The situation was also devastating in Indiana, Tennessee, and Arkansas, where numerous homes were destroyed and city crews work hard to clean up the mess. An 18-year-old girl in Arkansas was killed when a large tree fell on her home. An 18-month-baby was reported trapped in that same home following the freak winter storm. The Weather Channel notes that the preliminary estimated tornado count for Wednesday was 15. It was also noted that the most damage was reported in northern Mississippi. However, Tennessee and Indiana were also struck by tornadoes during the extreme weather event, and baseball size hail was seen in Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois just prior to the tornado outbreak.

Although the storm is unusual, it is not completely unheard of in the south. In fact, exactly one year ago, five people were killed in Mississippi when a tornado hit the state. Similarly, in 2012, several tornadoes were reported on Christmas day in Texas and Alabama. Sadly, according to the Weather Channel, the devastation may not be over for this year’s holiday season. Meteorologists say that severe weather will continue its path across the south, with Georgia and southeast Alabama under tornado watches.

Flash flooding is also a cause for concern, with meteorologists explaining that Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area are all under flash flood watches. The holiday severe weather is thanks to a cold front that is making its way across the south. The threat for bad weather continues into Christmas Day, as the Weather Channel states that “a few strong to severe storms may continue along the front from northwest Georgia southwestward to eastern Texas and Louisiana.” The biggest threats for these areas on Christmas Day include damaging winds, hail, and the possibility of a few isolated tornadoes.

[Photo by Stewart F. House/Getty Images]