Severe Weather Kills 4, Could Snarl Holiday Travel
Storms, tornadoes leave thousands without power in Miss.
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2014 11:57 PM CST
Updated Dec 24, 2014 12:15 AM CST
A building is severely damaged on US 98 East near Columbia, Miss. after a tornado touched down yesterday.   (AP Photo/The Hattiesburg American, Eli Baylis)
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(Newser) – There's lousy weather in many parts of the US just before Christmas but it's been especially bad in Mississippi, where tornadoes killed four people yesterday and left thousands of others without power. A state of emergency has been declared in two counties in the southeast of the state. "You wouldn't think of December as a month which you would see severe weather," a CNN meteorologist says. "Actually, this is a secondary peak for tornado activity," she adds, warning that "we got very warm, moist unstable air that is going to unload quite a bit of heavy rainfall all across the Southeast"—which could be problematic, and not just for travelers.

The same storm system—packing thunderstorms and snow—caused delays at East Coast airports yesterday, with flights canceled in New York and Philadelphia, and is expected to hit the Great Lakes region today, reports NBC. Another storm system could snarl travel in the Northwest and Rockies. Officials in Chicago are braced for possible flight delays and cancellations. "I'd be nervous about the possibility of not being able to get out," a Chicago-area meteorologist tells the AP. "I would definitely make plans about possibly staying put or doing something else."