Tornadoes Hit US As Christmas Storms Kill Six

Tornadoes Hit US As Christmas Storms Kill Six

At least six people have died after a major winter storm system swept through the southern US, triggering tornadoes and heavy snowfall.

A driver was killed when a high winds knocked down a tree, crushing his pickup truck and a 53-year-old Louisiana man died after a tree fell on his house.

A 28-year-old woman died after crashing her car on a snowy highway.

Two passengers in Arkansas highway died Wednesday when their car crossed the centre line and struck an SUV head-on; and a 76-year-old Wisconsin woman died Tuesday in Oklahoma in a similar car crash. 

The National Weather Service said a tornado struck Mobile, Alabama, a city with a population of about 200,000. Homes were damaged and power lines and trees were toppled.

Firefighters carried out door-to-door checks in the affected areas but did not find any serious casualties.

A large section of a church roof was missing and the front wall of the parish wall was gone, said Scott Rye, a senior warden at the church in the Midtown section of the city.

Another apparent tornado caused damage in the west Alabama town of Grove Hill, about 80 miles (130km) north of Mobile.

Near McNeill, Mississippi, a 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.

At least three tornadoes were reported in Texas, although only one building was damaged, according to the National Weather Service.

The storms also contributed to a 21-vehicle pile-up that shut down a major highway in Oklahoma and caused thousands of power cuts.

More than 400 flights nationwide were cancelled by Tuesday evening, according to the flight tracker More than half of those were either in or out of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which saw several inches of snow.

The snowstorm pushed out of Oklahoma as Christmas Day ended, carrying with it blizzard warnings for parts of northeast Arkansas, where 10 inches (25cm) of snow was forecast.

Freezing rain clung to trees and utility lines in Arkansas and winds gusts up to 30 mph (48kph) whipped them around, causing about 71,000 customers to lose electricity.

Blizzard conditions were also possible for parts of Illinois, Indiana and western Kentucky with predictions of four to seven inches (10 to 17.5cm) of snow.