Six of the victims — three in Missouri and three in Arkansas — died Friday as tornadoes fueled by unusually warm air pummeled the South and Midwest. A seventh victim who was injured Friday near the south-central Missouri town of Rolla died Saturday at a hospital in Columbia, said Bruce Southard, the chief of the Rolla Rural Fire Department.
The woman, whose name wasn't immediately released, was entertaining a friend, Alice Cox, 69, of Belle, Mo., in her trailer when the twister hit.
Southard said nothing was left of the trailer except for the frame and that the twister scattered debris 40 to 50 yards from where the trailer had sat. The woman were found under a pile of debris, Southard said.
"It's like you set a bomb off in it," Southard said in a phone interview. "It just annihilated it."
At a farm that was not far away, 21-year-old Megan Ross and her 64-year-old grandmother Loretta Anderson died when a tornado hit where their family lived among three mobile homes and two frame houses, Dent County Emergency Management Coordinator Brad Nash said.
The National Weather Service determined the home was hit by a weak tornado that was 50 yards wide and traveled less than a mile.
In the northwestern Arkansas hamlet of Cincinnati, Gerald Wilson, 88, and his wife, Mamie, 78, died in their home and Dick Murray, 78, died after being caught by the storm while milking cows, Washington County Sheriff Tim Helder said.
Gov. Jay Nixon was spending New Year's Day touring damage from the storm that also caused damage in near St. Louis.
Nixon started the tours around 11 a.m. in the St. Louis County town of Sunset Hills, where violent storms hit after noon Friday and left a trail of debris. Nixon was headed to Rolla later in the day.