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Death Toll in US Southeast's Storms Increases to 25

  • Associated Press

A Merry Christmas sign is mostly submerged by floodwaters from the Pea River, Dec. 26, 2015 in Elba, Ala.

A Merry Christmas sign is mostly submerged by floodwaters from the Pea River, Dec. 26, 2015 in Elba, Ala.

Tornadoes swept through the Dallas area after dark on Saturday leaving substantial damage and at least seven people dead either from the storm or related traffic accidents, in the latest of a succession of freakish winter weather events across the country.

The Texas tornadoes followed days of tumultuous weather in the Southeast including unusual winter tornadoes that left 18 people dead there over the Christmas holiday period.

The deaths of two people in Mississippi who had been missing since Wednesday were reported Saturday, bringing that state's weather-related fatality toll to 10.

Mississippi Emergency Management Agency spokesman Greg Flynn said 56 injuries were reported and 241 homes were destroyed or severely damaged. Severe storms were forecast Sunday night through Monday as a strong cold front pushes through, and tornadoes were possible.

Tanager Tyler and his son Mitchell look over a vehicle that wound up in the culvert under their driveway after floodwaters swept it and its four occupants off the road during the previous night in Pinson, Ala., Dec. 26, 2015.

Tanager Tyler and his son Mitchell look over a vehicle that wound up in the culvert under their driveway after floodwaters swept it and its four occupants off the road during the previous night in Pinson, Ala., Dec. 26, 2015.

Late Saturday, one death was reported in Alabama, where flash flooding closed about 190 roads across the state, according to the governor's office. Authorities recovered the body of a 5-year-old boy who drowned after the car he was riding in was submerged by floodwaters the day before, Coffee County Coroner Robert Preachers said. A 22-year-old man who was also in the car was still missing.

Earlier, six people were killed in Tennessee, including three who were found in a car submerged in a creek, according to the Columbia Police Department. One person died in Arkansas, and dozens of homes were damaged or destroyed.

The flooding was the result of heavy downpours that have thrashed the Southeastern U.S. since Wednesday, bringing record rainfalls in some areas.

People run as weather sirens sound as a severe storm passes over downtown Dallas, Dec. 26, 2015.

People run as weather sirens sound as a severe storm passes over downtown Dallas, Dec. 26, 2015.

In north Texas, meanwhile, residents hunkered down for what the National Weather Service was calling a "historic blizzard.'' Some parts of the Panhandle could see as much as 35 centimeters of snow, with freezing wind chills and accumulating ice. Residents in Lubbock and Amarillo prepared for a storm that began Saturday night.

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