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DOZENS DEAD IN US CHRISTMAS STORMS

At least 43 people have been killed over the past five days by severe storms across southern and western parts of the United States. Flash floods, tornadoes and now snow have destroyed hundreds of homes and businesses and snarled transport links. 

The National Weather Service has issued tornado warnings for Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Mississippi.

The governors of Missouri, Oklahoma, and New Mexico have declared states of emergency. In Illinois, three adults and two children were swept away in their car by the flood waters. In Texas, at least 11 people were killed by powerful tornadoes with winds of up to 200 miles an hour (300kph).

Hundreds of homes in Texas were reduced to rubble and cars were blown off the road. Five people died in their cars on a highway passing the city of Garland. Pedro Barineau of the local police said they had no chance.

“There were sirens that were going off, I mean multiple times and in multiple areas, notifying people of a tornado. However, people on the highway that were driving through they had no idea that the sirens were going off and the tornado was on them in a matter of seconds,” he said.