A severe storm system, which included tornadoes, has killed at least six people in the US as it travelled across the country on 23 December. Three were killed by tornadoes in Mississippi, another two in Tennessee and a young woman died when a tree fell on her house in Arkansas. A toddler that was in the house was later pulled safely by rescuers. At least 40 people were reportedly injured in Mississippi alone.

According to The Associated Press, search-and-rescue crews in Benton County were doing house-by-house checks to account for all residents. Two dead and three missing people were reported in Benton County. A 7-year-old boy died while riding in a car with his family when a tornado came through Holly Springs, Mississippi, according to the mayor.

At least 20 homes in the northwest part of the state were damaged or destroyed by a tornado, the AP reported. The severe storm claimed a dog, which was killed by debris, Clarksdale Mayor Bill Luckett said. The mayor added that planes were overturned at a small airport and an unspecified amount of people were injured. "I'm looking at some horrific damage right now," Luckett said. "Sheet metal is wrapped around trees; there are overturned airplanes; a building is just destroyed."

The national Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma reported that the biggest threat for tornadoes was for a region of 3.7m people in Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas, as well as parts of Missouri, Illinois and Kentucky. The Center issued a "particularly dangerous situation" alert. The region is at risk for a few "intense, long-tracked tornadoes" through the night of 23 December.

According to the National Weather Service, there were at least 21 reports of tornadoes and confirmed twisters in Iowa, Mississippi and Tennessee. Wayne County in Tennessee experience major structural damage to several buildings and homes. Wayne County Sheriff Ric Wilson said there were also several injuries. NBC News reported that Tennessee Health Department announced that a man and a woman were killed in Perry County.

The severe storms killed an 18-year-old woman when a tree fell through the roof of her home. Four other people were in the house, including an 18-month-old chid, CNN reported. Pope County Sheriff Shane Jones said that heavy rain and straight-line winds caused the tree to fall on the home. Jones added that the young woman died at the scene and that her name was being withheld while her family was notified.