December 2015 – CLIMATE – At least 11 people were killed, including a young boy, after a spring-like storm system swept across the southeast. The storms mixed with unseasonably warm weather, spawning tornadoes that killed people in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Scores were injured. Initially, authorities had said the death toll was at 7 across three states. The youngest victim was a 7-year-old in Holly Springs, Mississippi, who was killed in a van on Highway 7 as storms swept through the town, according to Marshall County Coroner James Anderson. Tree limbs and debris covered the highway Thursday, and emergency crews worked to restore downed power lines.
The storms — which the National Weather Service called a “particularly dangerous situation” for an area that spanned eastern Arkansas, northwest Mississippi, northeast Louisiana and western Tennessee — destroyed homes and caused power outages on Wednesday. At least six people died in Mississippi. Four of the deaths were in Benton County. Crews there were going house-to-house Thursday to make sure all residents were accounted for. Three others were killed in Tennessee, where heavy rain continued to soak the eastern border but was expected to move out of the state later today. The victims were a 22-year-old man in Rhea County, a 70-year-old man in Perry County, and a 69-year-old woman in Perry County.
In Atkins, Arkansas, 18-year-old Michaela Remus was killed when a tree crashed into the bedroom she was sharing with her 18-month-old sister. The toddler was taken to a hospital after being safely pulled out of the home by rescuers. Rusty Russell, 34, a friend of Remus,’ told NBC News that “she is one of those people that you would never hear a bad word about her. Just a true joy to be around. Remus died protecting her sister, he said. “She was laying in bed with her 18-month-old sister. The way that she was laying actually shielded her sister,” he said.
More than a dozen tornadoes were reported in Mississippi, and in the town of Clarkdale, hundreds woke up Thursday without homes for the holidays. Planes at a small airport were overturned by wind gusts. There were an unknown number of injuries, Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett told the Associated Press, but he said the only reported casualty in his town was a dog killed by storm debris. “I’m looking at some horrific damage right now,” Luckett said. “Sheet metal is wrapped around trees; there are overturned airplanes; a building is just destroyed.” –NBC