-- Travelers setting out for the holidays could face trouble, with snow anticipated in the Great Lakes region and rain expected along the country's East Coast.
The National Weather Service predicts Christmas Eve precipitation from Missouri to Michigan, with rain turning into snow in some areas.
Several inches are expected in Illinois, which could cause headaches at Chicago's O'Hare and Midway international airports. Officials there were preparing for potential delays and cancellations, particularly with more people expected to fly this holiday season.
Two deaths were confirmed in Jones County, Sheriff Alex Hodge said, noting the victims' mobile home was destroyed by the storm. Another two deaths and 20 injuries were reported in Marion, with "extensive damage to homes and businesses, multiple roads closed and numerous power outages," according to the state's Emergency Management Agency.
Five tornadoes were reported in Mississippi, while tornadoes also struck Georgia and Louisiana.
On the East Coast, which is being soaked by rains accompanied by warmer temperatures, only Philadelphia International Airport was reporting ground delays this morning.
"This will create a variety of weather impacts for Christmas travelers on Wednesday. A broad area ofsteady rain is expected from Florida to New England, with the heaviest rainfall occurring south of the Virginia state line. The Southeast states will also have some strong to severe thunderstorms ahead of the cold front."
As for a white Christmas, "rain is expected to change to snow from Illinois to northern Michigan, with several inches of snow accumulation a possibility."
With reporting by the Associated Press.