ST. LOUIS – Widespread damage is reported in Arkansas, Missouri, and Illinois after a line of deadly storms ripped the region on New Year’s Eve. The rare winter storm spawned up to 20 tornadoes killing at least six people and injuring dozens.
In the St. Louis area, thousands were left without power prompting local law enforcement agencies to post extra security patrols throughout the night to prevent looting.
A 21-year-old woman and her 64-year-old grandmother in Lacoma, Missouri were killed in the storm. Dent County Sheriff Rick Stallings told the Associated Press that the women were in one of three mobile homes on their family farm.
Phelps County Emergency Management Director Sandy North said about 20 homes have been destroyed or seriously damaged. North said one woman was killed and six others were injured in the county, including one critically.
In northwestern Arkansas near the small town of Cincinnati, Gerald Wilson, 88, and his wife, Mamie, 78, died after the storm destroyed their home. Dick Murray, 78, died after being caught by the storm while milking cows according to Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder.
The rare winter storm started as warm Gulf moisture that brought 70-degree temperatures to the region on Thursday was followed by a strong winter cold front that is expected to drop temps into the teens by Saturday morning.