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Thanks to unusual weather, it's been a struggle for some people to be jolly this holiday season. With tornadoes, floods, fires and wild swings in temperatures, 2015 is going out like a lamb or a lion, depending on which section of the country you live in. Here's a snapshot of some of the extremes faced in the United States.
Strong tornadoes tore through the Dallas area, killing at least 11 people and injuring dozens. One tornado led to at least eight deaths and 15 injuries in Garland. The storms were part of a weather system that also threatened to bring heavy snow and massive flooding Sunday from North Texas through eastern Oklahoma, eastern Kansas, western Arkansas and parts of Missouri.
Record rainfalls have led to flooding in parts of the southeastern U.S., though areas hit hardest since Wednesday were due for some relief Sunday. The tumultuous weather has led to at least 29 deaths in the Southeast, including those in Texas, plus 18 in Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas. Better weather was forecast for the Southeast on Sunday, and temperatures in the eastern third of the country were expected to be near record highs.
A holiday warm spell that brought unseasonably high temperatures to the Northeast was ending Sunday after flirting with records. National Weather Service meteorologist Faye Barthold said Islip, New York, tied a record high of 58 degrees set in 2011. Central Park in New York City was 6 degrees shy of a record of 63 set in 1949. Temperatures were expected to plunge to the 30s overnight, with Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut projected to see a wintry mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain late Monday.
A 1,200-acre wind-whipped wildfire along the Southern California coast was tamed by firefighting crews. That allowed authorities to reopen a scenic highway and lift evacuation orders for dozens of homes. Officials said about 600 firefighters, aided by water-hauling helicopters, overcame high winds, steep terrain and significant brush to stop the fire from spreading Saturday. No homes were burned in the blaze.
Three adults and two children drowned in southern Illinois when a vehicle carrying them was swept away as a result of heavy rain. The flash flood occurred before the vehicle sank in a rain-swollen creek.