Thursday, December 24, 2015

Powerful Storm System Across South and Midwest Kills at Least 11 (VIDEO)

At WSJ, "Dozens injured, homes destroyed after tornadoes touch down":

A powerful storm system that tore across parts of the South and Midwest claimed at least 11 lives, injured dozens of people and destroyed homes and businesses just as final preparations for Christmas celebrations were under way.

The system spawned more than a dozen tornadoes, including a potent one in Mississippi on Wednesday that remained on the ground for roughly 50 miles, an especially long stretch for a December twister, said Greg Carbin, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.

Mississippi was hit especially hard. At least seven deaths were reported there as of Thursday afternoon, and storms caused widespread damage to houses, mobile homes and other structures, according to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. More than 1,400 power outages occurred, and storm debris forced numerous road closures.

Gov. Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency Thursday and toured damaged areas in several counties. “Mississippians are resilient in difficult times, and we will meet this challenge head on for those that are in need,” he said.

In Tennessee, three fatalities were reported, and state and local officials were conducting damage assessments on Thursday, according to the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency. One death was reported in Arkansas as a result of a tree that crashed on a house, said Barbara Hager, manager of the Arkansas Response and Coordination Center.

Apart from tornadoes, the system produced storms with heavy rain and winds of 50 miles an hour and higher, Mr. Carbin said. It was generated by a combination of a powerful jet stream with a mass of warm, moist air over the region, he said. Storms extended across a swath of territory from Arkansas to Ohio...