Storms hit the US South, Southwest and Midwest over the Christmas holiday weekend, unleashing deadly floods and tornadoes that claimed the lives of at least 43 people, flattened buildings and created havoc for travelers.
The severe weather conditions have prompted Missouri and New Mexico to declare states of emergency.
At least 13 people perished in flash flooding in Missouri and Illinois, where up to six inches of rain fell over the weekend, while in Texas at least 11 people were killed in the Dallas area by tornadoes.
Advisories from the National Weather Service are still in effect for the central United States, and blizzard warnings remain for parts of New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma. Flash flood warnings have been announced in a number of counties stretching from Texas to Indiana.
In North Texas, some 600 homes were damaged in the Dallas suburb of Rowlett on Sunday as the result of a tornado, with as many as 1,450 houses destroyed by tornadoes in the state overall. As many as a dozen tornadoes were seen around northern Texas.
At least eight people suffered injuries in Oklahoma as a severe blizzard pounded the state. The Emergency Management Department says that snow and powerful winds knocked out power to as many as 60,000 homes and businesses.
In New Mexico, a massive winter storm slamming the southeastern part of the state shut down Interstate 40’s eastbound lanes from Albuquerque to the Texas state line. A state of emergency was declared on Sunday, with the National Guard mobilized to rescue stranded drivers, as high winds and blowing snow led to dangerous and life-threatening conditions. As many as 10,000 homes in eastern New Mexico were without power on Sunday.
According to tracking service FlightAware.com, more than 1,100 flights were canceled nationwide on Sunday, about half of which were scheduled to or from Dallas, a major US transit hub.
Prior to this weekend’s disasters, at least 18 people, including 10 in Mississippi, were killed just two days before Christmas. Bad weather is expected to continue through Monday.
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