Severe thunderstorms packing winds estimated at 70 mph tore through a portion of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park late Thursday afternoon, killing two, injuring dozens and knocking down numerous trees.
One person, a female, was killed at a campground after being struck by a falling tree. Another person, a male, was killed after wrecking his motorcycle.
At least a dozen other people have been hurt by the storms, Deputy Park Superintendent Kevin Fitzgerald told the Associated Press.
While the exact cause of the injuries are not yet known, the thunderstorm knocked down numerous trees, many landing onto streets and homes, causing power outages.
A radar snapshot around the time the severe storms were rolling through Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Numerous other severe storms across the Appalachian region and Southeast caused wind damage as well.
As of early this morning, rescue efforts to reach those reported to be stranded and injured were still under way.
The thunderstorm that blasted through the National Park arrived around 6:00 p.m. local time and impacted places such as Cades Cove, Abrams Creek and Metcalf Bottoms.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most visited national park in the nation, is located along the ridgeline of the Great Smoky Mountains along the central border of Tennessee and North Carolina.
Unfortunately, more storms with damaging winds will take aim on the South again today.
Dry and sunny conditions will continue in San Francisco for the the official start to winter and the Christmas holiday.
Sunshine will return in full force for the weekend, the official start to winter, and Christmas in Los Angeles.
Big changes are on the way for parts of the Western and Central states late this week and into this weekend.
Similar to the days prior to Thanksgiving, the worst weather will focus on the days prior to Christmas as millions of travelers take to the roads and skies in the U.S. and southern Canada.
Warm air is forecast to surge into much of the eastern half of the nation by the weekend and will be accompanied by heavy rain and flooding risk in some locations.
Thunderstorms in parts of the South this weekend may become strong enough to threaten lives and property.
Riverside RS (Yellowstone Park), WY: -59 degrees, lowest U.S. temp in December.
Flagstaff, AZ (1967)
End of record 7-day snowstorm; total 83" snow.
Philadelphia, PA (1991)
High of 30 degrees; only 5th day in 1991 with a high below freezing.