- (Photo: REUTERS/Marvin Gentry)
A major storm system pounded the South on Christmas Day Tuesday and resulted in at least three deaths. The storms are now moving to the East.
"A powerful upper trough currently swinging through the lower Tennessee Valley has a history of producing heavy snowfall, significant icing, and numerous tornadoes," the National Weather Service said Wednesday, adding that a "stronger" winter storm will shift its impact to the Ohio Valley and interior Northeast over the next couple of days.
Severe thunderstorms are also expected to impact the Southeast on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, more than 100,000 lost power Tuesday, including residents in Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana.
Some 30 tornadoes were reported on Christmas.
John Sharp, a reporter for Mobile's Press-Register, wrote a first-hand account of the tornado in his town.
"Sirens had started to sound. I turned on TV, but the signal was disrupted. That's when the wind began to pick up. Then it roared. I moved myself into my bathroom as I heard a clanging noise, like someone taking a large metal spoon to a stock pot. The power then flickered. Once it went off. Then, back on. Off for good. I did what one was supposed to do, I hunkered into my bath tub with my hands above me head curled into a fetal position," he described.
"That's when I heard the roar and prayed that my building would not collapse on top of me. It didn't. But I knew what I had just heard. It was a tornado. This wasn't some typical spring storm."
Deaths were reported in Texas, where a 25-year-old man was killed when a tree fell on his car, and Oklahoma, where a 28-year-old woman was killed in a car accident. Also, a 53-year-old man in Louisiana was killed when a tree fell on his house.
Blistering cold days are ahead, the National Weather Service warned, as the storm pushes toward the mid-Atlantic. Regions north of the Red River along Texas/Oklahoma will likely not see temperatures exceed the freezing mark on Wednesday and lows will plummet into the teens overnight.
Over six inches of snow is predicted from the upper Ohio Valley into the interior Northeast. And western New York up into central Maine may see 12 to 18 inches of snow.