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Tornadoes sweep through South amid massive winter storm that kills 4

At least four people have died amid widespread storm conditions across the U.S. since Monday.
Tornadoes sweep through South amid massive winter storm that kills 4
Posted at 5:18 AM, Jan 09, 2024

At least four people have died as massive storm systems sweep across the U.S. on Tuesday, with millions of Americans preparing for hazards including blizzards, floods, damaging winds and tornadoes. 

High winds in Florida stripped the roofs from homes, while at least three people were killed amid storms that brought heavy wind, hail and tornado warnings to Southern states.

Eighty-one-year-old Charlotte Paschal was killed in Alabama after her mobile home shifted off its foundation, authorities said. A tornado was thought to have touched down in the area.

Police in Clayton County, Georgia, say a man died when a tree fell on his car in Jonesboro.

Catawba County officials say one person has died in North Carolina after a suspected tornado struck a mobile home park. Two other people are in critical condition.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 16 unconfirmed tornadoes were reported along the Gulf Coast from late Monday through early Tuesday. 

The National Weather Service reported a "large and extremely dangerous tornado" near Panama City, Florida, early Tuesday morning. WMBB-TV showed power flashes to the west of its downtown studio. 

The Bay County Sheriff’s Office said it "urges everyone that can possibly avoid the roads this morning to stay home," adding, "some have taken to the roads to see the damage and it is making it very difficult for first responders who are rushing to help people who may be trapped in damaged homes and injured. Please stay home this morning."

The tornadoes were part of a large system that extended all the way to Minnesota. The system prompted blizzard warnings for parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas that were lifted by Tuesday morning. Winter storm warnings extended to the north and east into Wisconsin. Parts of Iowa got over a foot of snow, with more snow on the way.

As much as 12 inches of snow had fallen in portions of Kansas, eastern Nebraska and South Dakota, western Iowa and southwestern Minnesota by the end of the day on Monday. The National Weather Service reported North Sioux City, South Dakota, received 15 inches.

In Jefferson County, Wisconsin, officials said poor road conditions contributed to a head-on crash between an SUV and a semitrailer that killed the driver of the SUV.

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Ahead of the snowy portion of the storm, millions of Americans were placed under wind advisories and high wind warnings. More than 50% of the U.S. population from Texas to Maine was being advised about gusty winds. 

Flooding is also a major concern for major Northeast cities. Philadelphia, New York and Boston were among those being warned about flooding on Tuesday. 

Officials in New York City evacuated tent shelters housing migrants in parts of the Brooklyn borough, where heavy winds are expected Tuesday night.

Utility companies in Massachusetts said they were preparing extra staff and equipment to respond to possible power outages.

Meanwhile, another storm system came ashore late Monday on the West Coast, bringing blizzard conditions to higher elevations in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. The National Weather Service said "elevations 3,000 feet and above will likely be measuring their snow in feet, rather than inches."

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