US Christmas Day storm heads north

2012-12-26 17:04
Storm clouds hover over New York City where two tornadoes struck. (Gothamist, AP)

Storm clouds hover over New York City where two tornadoes struck. (Gothamist, AP)

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Storms cause havoc across SA

2012-12-11 15:47

In Boitumelong township near Bloemhof in the Northwest, at least 15 families were left homeless. And in KwaZulu-Natal, flooding has claimed eight lives. Watch. WATCH

Mobile - An enormous storm system that dumped snow and sleet on the US midsection and unleashed damaging tornadoes around the Deep South began punching its way toward the Northeast on Wednesday, slowing holiday travel. Three deaths were reported.

More than 325 flights around the US were cancelled as of Wednesday morning, according to the flight tracker FlightAware.com. Most were at airports in the path of the storm.

Blizzard conditions were possible on Wednesday for parts of Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. By the end of the week, that snow was expected to move into the Northeast.

Rare winter tornadoes damaged buildings in Louisiana and Alabama. The storms left more than 100 000 in the region without power for a while, darkening Christmas celebrations.

Thirty-four tornadoes were reported in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama during Tuesday's outbreak, the National Weather Service said.

Christmas Eve


Camera footage captured the approach of the large funnel cloud in Mobile, Alabama, the biggest city hit by numerous twisters. The storms blew the roofs off homes, and several places saw flash flooding.

A large section of the roof on the city's Trinity Episcopal Church was missing, said Scott Rye, a senior warden at the church.

On Christmas Eve, the church with about 500 members was crowded for services.

"Thank God this didn't happen last night," Rye said.

On Tuesday, winds toppled a tree onto a pickup truck in Texas, killing the driver, and a 53-year-old Louisiana man was killed when a tree fell on his house. Icy roads were blamed for a 21-vehicle pileup in Oklahoma, and the Highway Patrol said a 28-year-old woman was killed in a crash.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency, saying eight counties reported damages and some injuries. One likely tornado damaged a dozen homes and sent eight people to the hospital, none with life-threatening injuries, said Pearl River County emergency management agency director Danny Manley.

- AP

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