Survivors of southern storms thankful to see Christmas - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Survivors of southern storms thankful to see Christmas

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Map of Wednesday tornado track through Mississippi and adjacent areas. NWS Memphis graphic from Twitter @NWSMemphis. Map of Wednesday tornado track through Mississippi and adjacent areas. NWS Memphis graphic from Twitter @NWSMemphis.
Cleanup begins in several areas after Wednesday tornadoes. Photo from foxnews.com. Cleanup begins in several areas after Wednesday tornadoes. Photo from foxnews.com.

FALKNER, Miss. (AP) -- Some survivors of deadly storms across the Southeast lost their homes and belongings, but say they're thankful to see another Christmas.

Residents of the hardest-hit communities were forced to take stock of their losses Thursday after unseasonably severe weather spawned tornadoes and killed at least 14 people in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas.

Barbara Perkins and her husband hunkered in a closet of their home in Falkner, Mississippi, when powerful winds peeled the roof off and sucked up a heavy air conditioning unit. An insurance agent told the couple Thursday their home was a total loss.

Perkins' neighbors weren't as fortunate. Two died in a home nearby.

Despite being newly homeless, Perkins said the tragedy helped her "stop and realize what Christmas is all about."

Tennessee emergency management officials said in a statement Thursday night that three more people in the state were confirmed dead in the storms. The statement describes the victims as a 19-year-old female and two 22-year-old males. Officials say they died in Maury County. The statement says no further details are available.

The latest deaths bring the total killed in the Tennessee storms to six. In addition, seven people were killed in Mississippi and one died in Arkansas.

The previous deaths in Tennessee were a 70-year-old male and a 69-year-old female in Perry County, and a 22-year-old male in Rhea County.

One of the tornadoes may have traveled 150 miles on the ground, CNN reported Thursday.

A Mississippi sheriff has identified four of the seven people killed in the state.

Benton County Sheriff A.A. McMullen said Thursday that the four people killed in his area were 69-year-old Max Croxton and his wife, 67-year-old Ellen Croxton, both of Faulkner; 67-year-old William E. Crawford, of Lamar; and 58-year-old Patricia G. Williams, of Lamar.

McMullen says all three homes of the victims were destroyed. Crawford and Williams were neighbors on the same street.

Meanwhile, McMullen says crews are still searching for 47-year-old Michael A. Nunnally, of Lamar.

Torrential storms dumped 10 inches of rain or more across parts of southeast Alabama, causing widespread flooding Thursday.

Muddy water covered dozens of roads, forcing holiday travelers to take long detours. In Chambers County, emergency officials said two roads had collapsed because of rain, causing natural gas leaks from ruptured lines.

Photos posted to social media showed cars covered by water in multiple counties and a washed-out road that resembled a waterfall in Macon County. Pike County authorities asked drivers to stay off roads until noon Friday.

The National Weather Service said a widespread swath of Coffee County received as much as 10 inches of rain in a 24-hour period ending 7 a.m. Thursday, and a foot of rain was recorded north of Enterprise. Rainfall totals of as much as 4 inches were common.

The storms extending from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast caused hundreds of flight delays for travelers trying to get home for Christmas.

Authorities say heavy rains caused a mudslide on a mountain in north Georgia, flooded a movie theater lobby and inundated and closed several roads across the state.

The emergency manager in Fannin County told the National Weather Service that the mudslide blocked Mountain Top Road on Thursday, and several trees were also down in the area, about 100 miles north of Atlanta near the community of Dial.

The LaGrange Daily News reports the Carmike Cinemas LaGrange 10 was closed after a cleaning crew found the lobby full of water.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press and WDRB Media. All rights reserved.

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