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Published on : Thursday, December 24, 2015
A raging storm system blamed for at least seven deaths in the South from heavy rain, high winds and several tornadoes has weakened, but still threatened more severe weather— including possible twisters — from the mid-Atlantic to the Southeast and Gulf Coast.
Pouring rain is caused flash floods Thursday in portions of Georgia, including the Atlanta area. Flood watches have also been posted for parts of North and South Carolina, Virginia and Maryland including Washington, D.C.
On Wednesday, four people died in Mississippi, 2 in Tennessee and 1 in Arkansas.
NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center issued a tornado watch until mid-morning for portions of Georgia and southeast Alabama.
The National Weather Service said isolated severe thunderstorms were also possible Thursday from parts of the Mid-Atlantic states southwestward to the central Gulf.
Thursday night, the danger area will include parts of the lower Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys to East Texas. Wednesday’s storm produced at least 15 tornadoes in six states with most hitting northern Mississippi.
Thursday morning, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant issued a state of emergency for seven Mississippi counties following the deadly tornado outbreak.
In Holly Springs, Miss., a 7-year-old boy was killed when the car in which he was riding was picked up and tossed through the air by the storm, officials said.
Damaging tornadoes also ripped through parts of Indiana and Tennessee. Elsewhere, wind damage and hail to the size of baseballs struck parts of Arkansas, southeast Missouri and Illinois.
In Benton County, Miss., where at least three deaths occurred and at least two people were missing, crews were searching house-by-house to make sure residents were accounted for.
However, once the strong storms clear out, record warm temperatures were expected throughout the East.