Baku, December 28, AZERTAC
From tornadoes across the South and Texas, to flooding in the Midwest, to a blizzard watch as far west as New Mexico, severe weather contributed to a mounting death toll and continued to keep authorities on high alert throughout the Christmas weekend, according to International Business Times. More than 40 deaths across the country are linked to calamitous weather events so far, according to reports by the Associated Press and other media outlets.
In Texas, at least 11 people died as tornadoes struck the Dallas area. In Garland, about 20 miles northeast of Dallas, at least eight people have died so far, while nearly 600 buildings have suffered damage, according to a Facebook post by Mayor Douglas Athas on Sunday afternoon.
"Search teams are still in the affected area and will stay until they have inspected every building and car," Athas said in the post.
A tornado that hit Garland carried winds of up to 200 miles per hour, according to Reuters. "A tornado of that strength is very rare in a metropolitan area," National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Bishop told the news agency.
Meanwhile, the Texas Panhandle braced for heavy snowfall, as the National Weather Service also warned Sunday of "life-threatening" blizzard conditions in neighboring parts of New Mexico and Oklahoma.
"It's going to be a straight-up blizzard for eastern New Mexico [and the] Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles, and then south of there and east of there, you've got some ice to deal with, and that's going to be very dangerous, as well," Ari Sarsalari, a meteorologist for the Weather Channel, told NBC News.
In Missouri, flooding claimed the lives of at least seven people, according to the Associated Press. At least six people traveling in two vehicles died as a result of flash floods overnight, CNN reported. "Streams turn into rivers, and people sometimes don't see the road has flooded over when they are driving at night," Pulaski County Sheriff Ron Long told CNN.
In neighboring Illinois , three adults and two children drowned when creek waters swept their vehicle off a bridge in Marion County, the AP reported.
Tornadoes and severe storms across the Southeast late last week contributed to the deaths of at least 19 people, according to the AP. They include 10 deaths in Mississippi, six in Tennessee, two in Alabama, and one in Arkansas.