Severe winter weather causes flooding, deaths across U.S.

Severe winter weather causes flooding, deaths across U.S.

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On Monday, the rainy snow storm that affected much of the U.S. over the weekend is expected to move off the East Coast.  (Source: National Weather Service) On Monday, the rainy snow storm that affected much of the U.S. over the weekend is expected to move off the East Coast. (Source: National Weather Service)
Snow storms in Utah caused power surges and electrical fires in one city. (Source: KSTU/CNN) Snow storms in Utah caused power surges and electrical fires in one city. (Source: KSTU/CNN)
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(RNN) – As many as nine people have been killed in the severe weather that began on the first day of winter Saturday.

A rainy, snowy storm front that hit across the country this weekend is weakening but still moving east. It caused several deaths and other weather-related incidents.

The National Weather Service said on its website early Saturday that a "moderate severe weather outbreak" is in the forecast for most of the country during winter's first weekend. With soaking rains, most of the southeast and Atlantic coast could be facing flash-flooding for Christmas.

As the first day of winter weather ended Sunday, more than 440,000 people are in the dark, with mass power outages in New York, Michigan and northern New England; nearly 700 flights were canceled and 7,200 were delayed nationwide, according to the Associated Press and FlightAware.com. By early Monday, flights were resuming their normal schedules.

The storms are blamed for at least two deaths in Mississippi. A 43-year-old rural Mississippi man identified as James Sanders died when strong winds blew over his mobile home, according to WMC. Another man died when his car hit a tree that had fallen across a road, according to the Associated Press. 

In Hughes, AR, at least five people were injured and two dozen homes were damaged when two apparent EF-2 tornadoes hit, according to WMC. In Kentucky, five people total died in three separate accidents related to high flood waters on Sunday, according to WAVE. Winds knocked down power lines at a Louisville, KY, car dealership and set several cars ablaze.

Four firefighters and a state patrol officer in Missouri were injured when a driver lost control of his car on an icy interstate.

Forecasters say there's likely to be a new covering of snow in several states in the upper Midwest on Sunday morning. Meanwhile, northern New England could be dealing with more than a half-inch of ice.

Areas in Texas, Louisiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and Kentucky received severe thunderstorms throughout the weekend. In the southeast, Georgia, the Carolinas, Virginia and Florida are expecting record-high temperatures Saturday. Temperatures could reach as high as the mid-80s in as many as 50 southern cities, according to The Weather Channel.

The high temperatures mixed with severe and isolated thunderstorms could make it ideal for tornadoes. In 2012, Mobile, AL and other areas of the south had tornadoes hit on Christmas.

According to The Weather Channel, of the 119 documented killer tornadoes that have happened in December in the U.S., 66 of them have happened in Texas, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana.

The Midwest also suffered freezing rain and snow. In Kansas City, the National Weather Service issued a severe winter weather warning through noon Sunday, according to news station KCTV. The same weather has affected Oklahoma, where freezing rain has hindered road travelers.

Record highs hit the northeast in major cities like Philadelphia and New York City, with temperatures in the Big Apple reaching in the mid-70s. By the time Christmas comes, however, cold fronts could reappear, creating an odd combination of snow and rain.

Snowstorms hit the northwest in cities like Seattle and Salt Lake City overnight Friday, resulting in several power outages. Ice storms in Des Moines, IA, left slick roads for Friday morning commuters, with hospital emergency rooms attending to several ice and road-related injuries.

The busy travel day and the possibility of severe weather coincides with the Winter Solstice on Saturday. The Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year.

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