BENTON COUNTY, Miss., Dec. 23 (UPI) -- At least 6 people were killed and 40 injured Wednesday after severe weather stretched from the Midwest to the Southeast, leading forecasters to issue a warning not seen for almost two years.
The National Weather Service declared a "particularly dangerous situation" from Monroe, La., to Jackson, Tenn., ABC News reported.
Forecasters said the "spring-like" weather brought rain, thunderstorms and wind into the Midwest early Wednesday. By the evening, 21 tornadoes had been reported and confirmed in Iowa, Mississippi and Tennessee.
Various videos taken by witnesses and posted online show powerful gusts, soaking rains and twisters.
"My partner drove down there and called me and said that there were planes that were blown all over the place and pretty much destroyed, and then one plane that looked like it hadn't been touched at all," Mississippi motel owner Guy Malvezzi said. "It happened so fast that you really didn't have a chance to be afraid, but yeah, afterward, I was scared as hell."
At least three people were killed in Mississippi, officials said, including a 7-year-old boy. At least three others were reported missing in Benton County, Miss., by Wednesday evening. A highway was closed and power lines knocked down in Marshall County. Numerous homes and other structures were damaged.
In Arkansas, a young woman was killed and a toddler was hurt when a powerful storm uprooted a large tree and flung it into a house, NBC News reported.
Emergency officials in Indiana warned residents to be careful with their holiday decorations, which they said could become dangerous flying debris when powerful wind gusts swept over the area.
Officials said more than 40 people across the region have sustained weather-related injuries.
Many of the severe weather warnings expired Wednesday night but forecasters said more dangerous weather is likely to come.
"We're really concerned about the additional storms yet to come," Weather Channel meteorologist Danielle Banks said.
Forecasters said nearly 70 million Americans lived in areas predicted to be in the path of severe weather Wednesday.