Death Toll Rises to 14 After Tornadoes, Storms Ravage South
by ELIZABETH CHUCK, M. ALEX JOHNSON and MOLLY ROECKER
Authorities raised the death toll Thursday night to 14 people, including a young boy, after a spring-like storm system swept across the Southeast.
The storms mixed with unseasonably warm weather, spawning tornadoes that killed people in Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Dozens more people were injured.
The Tennessee Health Department said Thursday night that it had confirmed three additional deaths in Maury County, where the storm system created heavy rain and dangerous wind gusts Wednesday night. It said no further details were available.
At Least 11 People Killed in Storms and Tornadoes Across South 2:39
The storms — which the National Weather Service called a "particularly dangerous situation" for an area that spanned eastern Arkansas, northwest Mississippi, northeast Louisiana and western Tennessee — destroyed homes and caused power failures Wednesday.
Three other people were killed in Tennessee, where heavy rain continued to soak the eastern border but was expected to move out of the state late Thursday. A 22-year-old man who wasn't identified died in Rhea County. In Perry County, Annie Yzaguirre, 69, and Antonio Gomez Yzaguirre, 70, died, interim Sheriff Nick Weems told NBC News.
The youngest of the victims was a 7-year-old boy in Holly Springs, Mississippi, who was killed in a van on Highway 7 as storms swept through the town, according to Marshall County Coroner James Anderson. Tree limbs and debris covered the highway Thursday, and emergency crews worked to restore downed power lines.
At least six other people died in Mississippi. Four of the deaths were in Benton County, where another person was unaccounted for, officials said. Two were in Marshall County, and the other was in Tippah County.
"It is difficult, particularly this time of year, to see such damage and know that heartbreaks go along with that damage, that families have lost loved ones," Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. "There's no good side to this, but at least the storm was not in highly populated areas, like a downtown."