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USA: VIDEO- Record number of tornadoes rake southeast

Christmas 2012 will long be remembered in the USA for wicked weather.

But usually, bad weather on Christmas means snow, ice and cold.  This year, not only were the winter aspects of the weather a problem, summer-time severe weather reared its ugly head too.

This will likely go down as the largest Christmas Day tornado outbreak on record.  A large tornado tracked through part of the Mobile, Ala. metro area just after 5 p.m. CT with damage reported at a high school.  

Severe Weather Reports as of 5:20pm, Tuesday (12:20pm, Wednesday NZDT

  • Tornado- 12

  • Damaging Wind- 41

  • Large Hail- 17

Tornado touchdowns have also been reported in Texas, Louisiana Mississippi.  Several rotating storms have been reported around the western section of the Florida panhandle, both over land and off the coast but have not produced tornadoes over land.  The ones off shore have reportedly produced a waterspout.

The latest reports of damage and injuries include:

  • According to emergency managers, seven homes suffered damage from a possible tornado near McNeil, Miss. There are injuries, but none are believed to be serious at this time.

  • The National Weather Service reported medium-sized trees were downed and trailers were damaged in Centreville, Miss. due to a severe storm

  • The NWS reported damage in Pineville, La., just after 1 p.m. local time. Numerous pine trees and power lines were taken down by a severe thunderstorm.

  • A tornado was confirmed in Mobile, Alabama. The National Weather Service says the approaching cloud was visible from downtown Mobile around 5:15 p.m.

If you are wondering if tornado outbreaks on Christmas Day are unusual, here are some facts to help put this into perspective for you:

According to Severe Weather Expert, Dr. Greg Forbes, there have been 8 Christmas Days since 1950 with tornadoes somewhere in the U.S, summing up to 32 Christmas Day tornadoes in 6 states (Fla., Ga., Tenn., N.C., La., W.V.)  

The last time this happened was 2006, when six tornadoes struck Florida and south Georgia. 

Some other Christmas Day tornado facts from Dr. Forbes, with data since 1950:

  • Largest outbreak:  12 tornadoes in Fla., Ga., La. in 1969

  • Strongest tornado:  F3

  • Costliest tornado outbreak:  $33 million in 2006

  • Only deadly tornado:  1969 (Louisiana)

Severe weather is expected to continue tonight across this same area tonight and then along the southeastern US coast tomorrow.

In addition, just to the north of all of this warnings for winter weather are in effect.  For example, Blizzard warnings are in effect for parts of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas for the likelihood of heavy snow and strong winds.  Winter storm warnings extend all the way from the southern Plains to northern New England.

Homepage image/ NSSL/NOAA

By Howard Joseph, and The Weather Channel


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