Massive weekend storm system kills at least 25, including 4 soldiers in Missouri

Texas, New Mexico and Missouri have declared a state of emergency.
By Andrew V. Pestano and Shawn Price  |  Updated Dec. 29, 2015 at 5:17 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter

WASHINGTON, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- A recent massive storm system that generated tornadoes and flooding through much of the country has left 25 people dead, including four soldiers in Missouri.

The storm system is rolling east, predicted to dump heavy snow on the Northern and Central Plains as well as the Great Lakes on Tuesday. The Northeast could get a half-inch of ice. Heavy rainfall is expected in the Southeast.

Eight people died over the weekend in Missouri, including four international soldiers stationed at Fort Leonard for training. Reports indicate the soldiers died after their car drove atop a flooded road Saturday night and was swept several hundred yards downstream. Two soldiers found in the car died from drowning and the bodies of the other two were found Sunday morning.

"The possibility of a fifth occupant of the car exists, since an acquaintance of the above men is still missing," a police statement said.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency in Missouri on Sunday.

"Widespread flooding and continued rainfall are causing very dangerous conditions across much of central and southern Missouri," Nixon said in a statement. "Multiple fatalities due to flash flooding have already been reported, and I urge Missourians in flood-affected areas to stay alert, avoid travel if possible and never drive into a flooded roadway. With more heavy rain expected tonight and tomorrow, state emergency management personnel will be working around the clock to keep Missourians safe."

In Texas, at least 11 people died due to extreme weather, including a temperature drop in the Dallas area from 82 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday to 30 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday.

A tornado in Garland, Texas, killed eight people and three others died in Collin County.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday declared a state of emergency in the Texas counties of Collin, Dallas, Ellis and Rockwall amid the meteorological disaster.

"Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to those Texans who have been affected by this severe weather," Abbott said in a statement. "Please be assured that Texas is doing everything it can to assist in the challenges our citizens are currently facing. I want to thank the first responders and local officials on the ground and strongly encourage all Texans to heed their warnings in the coming the days."

In Illinois, the National Weather Service issued winter storm or flood warnings through much of the state for Monday. Three adults and two children died over the weekend in Marion County after attempting to drive their car over a flooded road and were swept into a creek.

Parts of eastern New Mexico, as well as the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, are under a blizzard warning through Monday -- where more than 8 inches of snow, with possible snowdrifts higher than 6 feet, are forecast.

A state of emergency was declared Sunday by New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez in response to the snowstorm.

"This is a dire situation, especially the eastern half of the state where the storm has hit hardest and continues to dump snow," Martinez said in a statement. "We monitored the situation throughout the night and activated the National Guard to assist stranded motorists. We have a lot of resources on the ground to clear our roads, as well as conduct search and rescue operations. I ask New Mexicans to please stay off the roads until the conditions improve."

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories