A deadly winter storm has dumped snow in the American South, sent 34 tornadoes across several states, left hundreds of thousands without electricity and killed at least six people.
A day after Christmas, travelers were left stranded at airports due to canceled flights as the winter weather continued to make its way north. The storm left behind it a mess of destruction. Buildings in Louisiana and Alabama were destroyed by tornadoes, sheets of ice made the roads in Illinois slippery, and Indiana had so much snow that officials told residents to stay at home. More than 189,000 customers were left in the dark in Arkansas after the storm knocked out the utility company Entergy Arkansas.
The town of Mobile, Ala. was severely damaged by tornadoes. Destroying schools, a church, and causing car wrecks, the tornadoes ripped through the town and terrified its residents.
“You could see it forming,” a witness told CNN affiliate WALA. “And then it came behind the church and then (there was) all green fluorescent lighting and it was like popping transformers left and right. You heard crashing and then the power went out.”
The town suffered downed power lines and trees, leaving nearly 21,500 Mobile customers without power. But across the state, 26,600 were without power. More than 84,000 in Arkansas and 4,000 in Louisiana were also left in the dark.
More than 750 flights were canceled as of Wednesday morning, leaving holiday travelers stranded as the US prepared for more damage. Six deaths and several injuries have been blamed on the winter storm, which began in the Gulf Coast and is on its way to New England.
A 25-year old man was killed by a fallen tree in Texas after it fell on his pickup truck, while a 28-year-old woman suffered a fatal accident on a snow-covered highway in Oklahoma. A third person was injured in a tornado that struck Louisiana, while car accidents in the American South killed three more, including a 76-year-old woman.
The damage in the south has caused residents in the northeast to be concerned as the storm continued to make its way north.
“People need to not travel. They need to just go where they’re going to be and stay there,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Rachel Trevino told Fox News. The Northeast US is expecting further damage. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for parts of New York and New Jersey, which are still struggling from the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The regions are expected to accumulate four to six inches of snow, as well as sleet and freezing rain that could make the roads dangerously icy.
Further north, New York state could see more than 15 inches of snow. In an attempt to reduce airport chaos, some airlines have decided to waive fees for people trying to change their flights to leave the state before the worst of the storm hits.
Many Americans experienced a Christmas like never before this year, and many more are spending their post-Christmas days stuck at airports.
“Blizzard warnings stretch for 730 continuous miles due to Winter Storm Euclid,” The Weather Channel’s Tom Niziol reported.
“By the time I got home, the street was covered,” 44-year-old Stephen Canter of Indianapolis told Indianapolis Star. “I don’t remember snow like this since Valentine’s Day of 2007.”
As much of the northeast continues to clean up the devastation left behind by Hurricane Sandy in late October, the latest winter weather storm will only make it more difficult for the families who have already lost their homes or electricity.