A tornado struck in Alabama on Friday just as destructive storms hammered the state and others in the South in a barrage of deadly holiday weather.
The twister touched down around 5 p.m. on Christmas Day and cut a 2-mile path of destruction through Birmingham mere miles from the city's downtown.
Residents were reported trapped under debris in their homes, but authorities initially reported no deaths. Only in the light of day on Saturday would the full impact of the storm be known.
"Details are still sketchy," Jason Holmes of the National Weather Service told the Associated Press early Saturday.
The tornado was just on event in a powerful and ongoing onslought of destructive winter storms that have impacted the South and Midwest this week--storms that are expected to continue through the weekend.
Unseasonably warm weather across the South has spawned torrential flooding and tornados that had claimed at least 15 lives as of Saturday.
It's been a Christmas that won't soon be forgotten after hundreds of homes were lost in through Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas and elsewhere in the days before the 2015 holiday.
Among those killed were a young boy and a teenager, as storms barreled across the country Wednesday.
Two dozen twisters uprooted trees, ripped off roofs and wrecked vehicles across Iowa, Tennessee and Mississippi, according to the National Weather Service.
In Mississippi, three people and a dog were killed. A seven-year-old boy died after a tornado picked up a car he was traveling in, an official told theAssociated Press.
Dozens of homes in the state were destroyed and small planes were overturned at an airport in Clarksdale.
"I'm looking at some horrific damage right now," Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett said, the AP reported. "Sheet metal is wrapped around trees; there are overturned airplanes; a building is just destroyed."
In Arkansas, an 18-year-old woman, identified as Michaela Remus, was killed when an uprooted tree crashed into her home as she slept. Her one-year-old sister was left trapped inside, but was later pulled to safety.
Two people, a man and a woman, lost their lives in Perry County, Tennessee.
Tornadoes also touched down in Indiana, ripping roofs off buildings.