Death toll rises from US storms

  • 27/12/2015
A sign sits underwater located in the downtown area of Elba, Alabama (Reuters)
A sign sits underwater located in the downtown area of Elba, Alabama (Reuters)

The death toll from storms in the southern United States has risen to 18.

In less than a week the region has been pounded with unusually warm weather, accompanied by tornadoes and torrential downpours.

On Saturday (local time) two deaths were reported in Mississippi from two people who had been missing since Wednesday. Ten people have died in the state.

One death was also reported in Alabama on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the US National Weather Service issued a warning for an "historic blizzard" in Texas, predicting up to 36cm of snow, with sub-zero wind chills and accumulating ice.

The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency said 56 weather-related injuries were reported and more than 240 homes were destroyed or severely damaged. More than 400 homes in total were affected.

Tornadoes are still possible, with severe storms predicted for Sunday night through Monday. The storms have brought record rainfall in some areas this week.

Six people died in Tennessee, including three found in a car submerged in a creek. One person died in Arkansas, and dozens of homes were damaged.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley issued a statement, saying 190 roads were closed from flooding.

Officials there have recovered the body of a five-year-old boy who drowned after the car he was in became submerged in flood waters. Authorities are still searching for a 22-year-old man who was in the car with the boy.

More flooding is expected in parts of northern Alabama, and residents have been warned against driving in certain areas.

Tornadoes typically hit the region the hardest in the spring, but such storms can happen any time of the year. Last year at this time, tornadoes killed five people in Mississippi and injured dozens.

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