Mississippi, Arkansas, and Tennessee experienced yet another tornado outbreak last month during the Christmas holiday. According to CNN, 14 people lost their lives and 14 tornadoes hit Mississippi. when a tornado strikes and how these tornadoes affected nearby states.
- December tornadoes are rare. The weather this past December resembled spring weather patterns as opposed to winter, and it created conditions for storms to easily hit. These weather patterns occurred in states such as Michigan and Arkansas first, but kept going east. As such, tornadoes were able to form in Mississippi, including a twister that traveled for an estimated 150 miles. In addition, Georgia’s mountains experienced mudslides and parts of Alabama experienced flooding and torrential rains.
- Six Mississippi counties were affected, as were three in Tennessee. After the storms, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant declared a state of emergency. Four Mississippi counties asked their residents not to leave their houses on Thursday December 24.
- Seven of the deaths occurred in Tennessee. Others were severely injured, including a baby who was living in a home that had a tree fall on top of it.
- Georgia wasn’t spared from the effects of storms caused by the tornadoes. A mudslide caused a lot of traffic at an Atlanta interstate. Governor Nathan Deal declared a state of emergency in three Georgia counties due to flooding and dangerous weather conditions. Many flights out of Atlanta’s international airport were also delayed because of the weather.
- There were flood alerts in Georgia and the Carolinas because of the rainy conditions caused by the tornadoes. The effects of the December 23-25 tornado outbreak in 2015 were also felt in Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan. In fact, Michigan experiences the first recorded December tornado in its history.
- Birmingham, Alabama experienced some damages due to a tornado that hit the city on Christmas day.
Many of the injuries and accidents that occurred in Mississippi were centered in the Holly Springs area, and like many other tornadoes that hit the Dixie Alley, mobile homes were the most vulnerable to damage. As the tornado increased in intensity it headed to Ashland, MS, where many mobile homes were destroyed.
This outbreak once again showed residents of the Deep South what we already know: tornadoes in our states can be unpredictable, the high concentration of mobile homes in the Deep South unfortunately causes more injuries and destruction, since such housing is weaker, and we must be prepared to face tornadoes at any time. Furthermore, a tornado may move from one state to the next, making it difficult for states to coordinate. Even a tornado does not go to another state, the high winds caused by strong twisters can still wreak havoc on neighboring states. The moisture in the air due to the South’s proximity to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean causes tornadoes to be stronger and faster than those in the Midwest, which are not near water systems that could exacerbate their effects.