Holiday Tornado Rips Through the South
For many in the Northeast, the unseasonably warm temperatures had people celebrating Christmas in t-shirts and sweaters rather than turtlenecks and scarves. But down South, the warmer winter temperatures had more dire consequences.
Right before Christmas Eve, a powerful storm ripped through the South, creating destruction in its path and taking the lives of at least 10 individuals in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. And even more are injured.
According to the Storm Prediction Center, 14 tornadoes hit Mississippi, refusing to let up until they hit Tennessee. And while many tornadoes were active at once, weather experts say only one major tornado did a bulk of the damage.
The National Weather Service reports that the most damaging tornado may have been on the ground as it ripped through the South at 150 miles per hour.
Some of the strongest storm windows can withstand gusts of 200 miles per hour, but homes with older windows may not have fared so well during the tornado.
“If it is continuous it would be the longest track (December) tornado on record here in the mid-South,” the Memphis office of the weather service said.
In Mississippi, the tornado wiped out several communities in the Northern area of the state. According to CNN, damage reports were made from Sardis, Clarksdale, and Holly Springs.
Lance Meeks, Holly Spring resident, was literally floored when he stepped outside of his home.
“I laid down on the ground, and here come the tornado,” Meeks said in an interview with WTVA-TV. “Rolled right over me. Uprooted trees, cut trees in half. And I don’t know why I’m still standing here talking to you.”
In addition to the 10 whose lives were taken, more than 40 people in Mississippi have been injured.
In Tennessee and Arkansas, the storm ripped through Perry County, where two people died.
After the deadly winds ceased, a steady downpour ensued through Christmas Eve. Flood advisories were placed for several states, such as Georgia and the Carolinas.