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Deadly holiday storm hits much of the midwestern US

There was little reason to celebrate the holidays for people in the Midwestern US as violent weather hit the region. The storm, which killed at least seven people, is now headed towards the northeast of the country.

A massive winter storm disrupted Christmas in the US Wednesday, bringing with it tornadoes, ice and snow from the Gulf of Mexico to the Great Lakes as it turned towards the northeast of the country.

Some 1,500 flights were cancelled Tuesday and Wednesday, and people were warned to stay indoors rather than risk the dangerous roads, strong winds and freezing temperatures.

Homes and businesses were damaged Tuesday after 34 tornadoes tore through the southern states of Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi.

The governors of Alabama and Mississippi declared a state of emergency.

The National Weather Service issued winter storm warnings in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, as well as in much of the northeastern US.

Seven killed

Two children were killed Christmas Day when their mother lost control of her vehicle on an icy road in Arkansas, state police said.

Another person was also killed in the state Wednesday as a result of the storm, the Arkansas emergency management service said.

On the same day, a 21-vehicle pileup caused by icy roads left a dozen people injured in Oklahoma, while two women were killed in separate crashes in the state.

One man was killed in rural Louisiana when a tree struck his home Wednesday, while another man died in similar circumstances outside of Houston, local media reported.

More than 200,000 people were left without heat and electricity after power lines were knocked down in Arkansas, Mississippi and Texas. The regional utility company said it could be a week before service was fully restored.

dr/mr (AFP, Reuters)