The northern plains and the Midwest are getting ice and heavy snow and 68 million are in the path of the storm. Meteorologist Mike Bettes reports.
By Daniella Silva, NBC
At least two people were killed in wild weather Saturday, as freezing rain, snow, ice and tornadoes wreaked havoc for millions of holiday travelers from the Louisiana Gulf Coast to eastern Canada.
“This is a particularly strong storm with very warm, near record-breaking temperatures in the East and very cold air in the Midwest, and that contrast is the sort of conditions that are favorable for not only winter weather but also tornadoes,” National Weather Service meteorologist Ed Danaher in College Park, Md., told Reuters.
In Mississippi, two people were reported killed Saturday when strong winds swept through areas south of Memphis, the state emergency management agency said. In Coahoma County, a 43-year-old man died when winds flipped his mobile home and pinned him against a tree, NBC station WMC of Memphis reported. Another man was killed when his car hit a fallen tree in Jasper County, and a woman in the car was badly injured, The Associated Press reported.
Northwest of Coahoma in eastern Arkansas, a suspected tornado injured several people and damaged homes near the town of Hughes in eastern Arkansas, dispatcher Lynn Morgan of the Saint Francis County Sheriff’s Office told Reuters.
Another suspected twister near Dermott in southeast Arkansas, damaged homes and blew four semi-trucks off a highway, said National Weather Service meteorologist David Cox in Jackson, Miss.
“We are thinking it was a tornado,” Cox told Reuters. “We had quite a bit of rotation and quite a bit of damage.”
More than 80,000 people in Arkansas without power on Saturday afternoon, according to utility company outage reports.
An 83-mph wind gust was reported in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, The Weather Channel reported on Twitter. A highway in the Okolona area of Louisville was closed after power lines fell onto a car dealership and nine vehicles caught fire, NBC station WAVE of Louisville reported.
High winds were also reported late Saturday in Nashville.