It will be a difficult Christmas for many families in the south after deadly storms and tornadoes devastated the region -- especially in Holly Springs, Mississippi, where a 7-year-old boy died in the severe weather, the mayor said.
No further details about the boy's circumstances were immediately available.
"It's very, very devastating," Holly Springs Mayor Kelvin Buck told ABC News this morning. "People here are very close. We know each other. We speak to each other. ... we walk around in the same community."
"When we have something this traumatic happen, whether it's a death like in the case of this young person or the devastation to the homes of all of these people right here on Christmas Eve, it's very, very hard to deal with. But we'll pull through," Buck said.
The death toll has reached 11 in the deadly storms, after at least 24 tornadoes were reported across seven states, according to authorities. More than 40 were injured in Mississippi alone.
And in Holly Springs -- a northern Mississippi town about 60 miles from Memphis, Tennessee -- the destruction was dramatic.
"I'm seeing devastation that I haven't seen," the mayor told ABC News. "I've never been in a situation where a tornado has come this close and been this devastating to a community. I'm really getting my first look at some of the devastation this morning. I'm just not believing what I'm seeing."
The mayor said today there are about 4,000 customers without power in Holly Springs, and it may take days to restore it.
"It's really very difficult to describe," he said. "You can see these kinds of things on television but when you come to them face to face, with people in the community that you actually know, and see the devastation that they are going through right now, it's pretty tough to see."
But the mayor said he's confident the town will recover, in part thanks to an outpouring of support from surrounding towns.
"We'll pull through this," he said. "And we'll be just as strong as we've ever been."