U.S. south ‘still under the gun’ after deadly storms

A storm cloud formation is seen in Collinsville, Oklahoma, U.S., May 20, 2019 in this picture obtained from social media on May 21, 2019. BRI'ANNE WALTON/via REUTERS

By Rich McKay

(Reuters) – A storm system that blasted the U.S. South was weakening on Tuesday but another was on its way after thunderstorms and tornadoes left a swath of destruction, killed at least two people and tore up a NASCAR grandstand.

More than 30 tornadoes struck on Monday and Tuesday from Texas, Oklahoma and across the southern plains into Missouri, said meteorologists with the National Weather Service.

While this weakening storm system is expected to roll into the Great Lakes region early Wednesday, another system is brewing Wednesday night into Thursday, said Brian Hurley, a forecaster with the NWS Weather Prediction Center.

“The Southern Plains can’t catch a break,” Hurley said. “More storms will develop overnight into Thursday morning.”

Rainfalls are predicted to be about 2 inches across eastern Kansas, Oklahoma, and into western Missouri, with localized spots getting up to 5 inches, he said.

“That whole area is still under the gun,” Hurley said.

In Wheatland, Missouri, at the Lucas Oil Speedway, a reported tornado injured 7 people, flipped over cars, toppled campers and damaged the grandstands, with local media images showing piles of twisted metal and upside down vehicles.

The Memorial Day weekend “Lucas Oil Show-Me 100” races at the speedway, about 120 miles southeast of Kansas City, were canceled indefinitely. A crowd topping 3,000 fans of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) had been expected, track officials said on Tuesday.

Dozens of people were rescued from rising floodwaters and felled trees that smashed homes and blocked roadways in Oklahoma on Tuesday.

Crews using boats pulled at least 50 people from rising water as heavy downpours inundated roads and homes, Oklahoma Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Keli Cain said.

Two deaths from a traffic accident on a rain-slicked Missouri highway were reported by police late Monday.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson declared a state of emergency on Tuesday for the state, out of concern for floods from cresting rivers and streams, with forecasts of more rain on the way.

Forecasters said the Missouri River is expected to crest on Thursday at more than 32 feet at the state capital of Jefferson City. Local media including NBC News said that is two feet higher than the city’s levees.

(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Graff)

Second wave of twisters in U.S. South turns deadly as storm pushes east

4-19-2019 Twitter photograph of Macron, MS twitter - Bryce Jones

By Rich McKay

(Reuters) – A second wave of tornadoes and thunderstorms to hit the U.S. South and Midwest this week turned deadly on Thursday with three people reported killed, as the storms pushed eastward on Friday, officials and media accounts said.

One person was killed after a tree fell on his vehicle in Neshoba County, Mississippi, Thursday afternoon, the local paper, the Neshoba Democrat, reported.

A second death was reported in St. Clair County, Mississippi, after a tree fell on a home, late Thursday, according to AccuWeather.

A third death was reported late Thursday in the Wattsville community, north of Pell City, Alabama, the National Weather Service (NWS) reported, after a tree fell on a home.

The deaths come in the wake of at least five people, including three children, who were killed last weekend in a storm system that drove more than three dozen tornadoes across the U.S. South.

Communities in central Texas and western Louisiana, already hit by flash floods and twisters in the first round last weekend, were hit once more by high winds, twisters, egg-sized hail and intense rain Thursday and Friday, according to AccuWeather and the NWS.

In the latest storm system, multiple possible tornadoes hit southwest and central Mississippi Thursday night and early Friday, the NWS said, but the damage will have to be surveyed before confirmation of twisters.

“We’re still under some severe storm warnings, tornado watches and flood warnings into this morning and the afternoon across a broad swipe of the U.S.,” said NWS meteorologist Bob Oravec early Friday.

“The severe thunderstorms will impact the deep South and southeastern U.S., through Georgia and the Florida panhandle, before it heads up the Atlantic Coast,” he said.

Flash flooding could remain a threat in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts on Saturday, the weather service said.

The storm system will lose much of its punch late in the weekend, but the East Coast should expect a soggy Easter, Oravec said.

Power outages were reported early Friday in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, affecting a total of about 91,800 homes and businesses, according to the tracking site PowerOutage.Us.

(Reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by Mark Potter)

Second wave of tornadoes, thunderstorms to pummel the U.S. South and Midwest

National Weather forecast for 4-17-19

(Reuters) – Tornadoes and thunderstorms will hit the U.S. South and Midwest for a second time this week, starting Wednesday afternoon and pushing eastward, forecasters said.

At least five people, including three children, were killed over the weekend in a storm system that drove more than three dozen tornadoes across the U.S. South.

Communities in central Texas and western Louisiana, already hit by flash floods and twisters in the first round, will be hit once more by high winds, twisters and intense rain, according to AccuWeather and the NWS.

“This is a dangerous, vigorous storm,” Jim Hayes, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s Weather Prediction Center in Maryland, said early Wednesday.

The storm is expected to stretch from Iowa and Missouri in the north through Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas to the south, said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist John Feerick.

“Dallas and Oklahoma City, from there on eastward is probably at greatest threat from damaging winds, flooding downpours and tornadoes,” said Feerick.

Northern Oklahoma could be pelted with hail 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter, or larger, on Wednesday, the NWS tweeted.

NWS forecaster Hayes said the storm gets its initial fuel from warm, moist air over the Gulf of Mexico.

“It’ll kick-up this afternoon over southern Kansas and about all of Oklahoma, with rain, wind gusts of 65 mph, hail and tornadoes.”

“The worst will hit before midnight,” he added. “By early Thursday it’ll push into Kentucky and Alabama.”

As the storm tracks eastward, it will extend from Indiana south to Florida by late Thursday, hitting the Atlanta area that night and the Atlantic coast the next day.

Picking up moisture from the ocean, the system is likely to produce intense thunderstorms up the eastern seaboard as far north as New York state.

New York City, Philadelphia and Washington may face travel delays from the rain and possibly property damage from high winds, AccuWeather warned.

Flash flooding could remain a threat in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts on Saturday, the weather service said.

(Reporting Andrew Hay in Taos, New Mexico and Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Firefighters gain on California wildfires as weather cooperates

A USGS geologist making observations of the fissure 8 lava channel at sunset is pictured in this July 3, 2018 fisheye lens handout photograph near the Kilauea volcano eruption in Hawaii, U.S. USGS/Handout via REUTERS

(Reuters) – Firefighters are gaining momentum as they battle several wildfires that have destroyed dozens of homes and forced the evacuation of thousands of residents in California.

Across the state, milder weather over the last couple of days has helped firefighters to hold the line against several blazes, allowing them to lift evacuation orders for residents forced to flee their homes.

Temperatures are expected to fall this week in parts of the state, the National Weather Service said, after scorching heat, high winds and low humidity fanned dozens of fires this summer in a particularly intense fire season across the U.S. West.

“The weather is starting to cooperate, so it’s letting firefighters get the upper hand on the fires,” said Lynette Round, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, called Cal Fire.

U.S. wildfires have already burned more than 3.3 million acres (1.3 million hectares) this year, more than the annual average of about 2.6 million acres over the past 10 years, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

One person has been killed and three firefighters injured in a wildfire on the California-Oregon border. That blaze, the Klamathon Fire, has torched 36,500 acres (14,770 hectares) and destroyed 82 homes since erupting on Thursday.

Shifting wind patterns remained a concern, but that fire was not expected to grow significantly overnight, a spokesman for Cal Fire said.

In western Nevada, a fire weather watch will be in effect on Wednesday as winds up to 50 miles (80 km) per hour and thunderstorms with lightning are expected in the area.

Elsewhere in the U.S. Southwest, dozens of active fires remained burning, including the 107,900-acre Spring Creek Fire, which is on pace to become the second-largest fire in Colorado’s history, according to the Denver Post newspaper.

“Near critical fire weather conditions are possible across portions of eastern Colorado Tuesday afternoon,” the National Weather Service said in an advisory.

Showers and thunderstorms are also in the forecast for parts of the region through Wednesday, the weather service said, warning of lightning and gusty winds that could create and fan wildfires.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee, editing by Larry King)

Power outages linger as U.S. Northeast recovers from deadly storm

Commuters wait as service was temporarily suspended on all Metro North lines at Grand Central Terminal due to storms in Manhattan, New York, May 15, 2018. REUTERS/Herbert Lash

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A violent spring storm that killed at least five people in the northeastern United States downed trees and power lines, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without power on Wednesday.

By daybreak, more than 370,000 residents were without power in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, down from more than 600,000 on Tuesday night.

Amtrak and most local commuter railroads in the New York metropolitan area said their services were back to normal on Wednesday. Some schools canceled classes or delayed their openings.

The line of strong thunderstorms with wind gusts of 50 to 80 miles per hour (80 to 129 kilometers per hour) sped eastward across the region Tuesday evening, causing local flooding, scattering debris and dropping hail as large as tennis balls.

Falling trees killed an 11-year-old girl and a woman in separate incidents in Newburgh, New York, police said. Falling trees also killed two people in Connecticut in separate incidents, as well as a person in Pennsylvania, local media reported.

Local news showed footage of trees resting on top of crushed cars and houses, and vehicles submerged in water.

There were more than 100 reports of hail in states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut, the National Weather Service said.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency in several counties in southeast New York and deployed members of the New York National Guard to assist with the recovery.

Officials in Brookfield, Connecticut, declared a town disaster and told residents to stay inside until they could assess the damage.

“Please be aware that there are hundreds of downed trees, utility poles and electrical lines. AVOID all down trees and utility poles as they may still involve LIVE power lines,” the Brookfield Police Department said on Facebook.

(Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York and Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Alison Williams and Susan Thomas)

Storms move east after killing three in U.S. Midwest

By Brendan O’Brien

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) – Tornadoes and storms that already have killed at least three people and destroyed homes in the U.S. Midwest are moving east on Wednesday, the National Weather Service and media reported.

Tornado watches remained in effect from northeast Arkansas north into Ohio and eastern Pennsylvania for Wednesday morning after the band of storms rolled through the Midwest on Tuesday night, the National Weather Service said.

“Widespread damaging winds can be expected, along with some tornado risk,” the service said in an advisory.

The storm system will continue moving east toward the Atlantic Ocean, according to AccuWeather meteorologists. This is likely to bring severe thunderstorms and possible travel delays later on Wednesday to New York City, Washington, Philadelphia and Boston.

The storm has left tens of thousands of people without electricity and killed at least three people, according to local officials and media reports. One person died while driving on a Missouri freeway after strong winds swept old cars from a nearby junkyard onto the road.

Tornado spotters have already reported at least 23 twisters in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa, Tennessee and Indiana on Tuesday evening, the National Weather Service said.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien; Additional reporting by Jonathan Allen in New York; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

Treacherous Travel, Snow, Ice, Thunderstorms, Tornado chances

Christmas eve warning map weather.com

By Brendan O’Brien

MILWAUKEE, Dec 23 (Reuters) – Heavy snow, freezing rain and wind gusts will make holiday travel treacherous in swaths of the northern United States.

A storm is expected to bring rain and then snow to the Pacific Northwest as temperatures hover around freezing on Friday night.

The same system will also dump heavy snow in the Rockies and High Plains late into Saturday, the National Weather Service said in its forecast.

Snow and freezing rain are also in the forecast for much of the Midwest and Northeast late on Friday and through Saturday as temperatures are to dip around freezing, the weather service said.

The deteriorating weather may derail travel plans for some of the 94 million Americans who the American Automobile Association say will hit the roads during the holidays.

“Christmas, for travelers, is going to be a little dicey in some portions of the country,” meteorologist Justin Povick said during his forecast on Accuweather.com.

Accuweather warns that blizzard conditions in the northern Plains over the weekend could cause treacherous white-outs along major interstate highways, power outages and airline delays.

“People from the central Plains and middle Mississippi Valley to the central Plains will need to keep an eye out for rapidly changing weather conditions,” Meteorologist Brett Rossio said on AccuWeather.com.

Signs of how bad weather may cause disruptions for holiday travelers were seen as early as Thursday morning as nearly 250 flights were delayed or canceled in and out Los Angeles International Airport due to high winds and high volume.

A blizzard watch is in effect for the area around Bismarck, North Dakota, where as much as a foot (30 cm) of snow fall and heavy winds will lead to “dangerous Christmas travel conditions,” the National Weather Service said.

To the east, in northern Wisconsin and Michigan, motorists are told to “exercise caution” as snow and freezing drizzle are expected to limit visibility and make roads slick, the National Weather Service said.

Tornadoes, thunderstorms and hail are also in the forecast in the southern U.S. Plains, Accuweather said.

As their neighbors to the north deal with winter weather, people in southern Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee will enjoy unseasonably warm weather on Christmas Day as temperatures are likely to soar into the 60s, according to the National Weather Service.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Alison Williams)

 

Winter weather to make holiday travel treacherous in northern U.S.

A person walks along Chambers Street during morning snow in Manhattan, New York City,

By Brendan O’Brien

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) – Heavy snow, freezing rain and wind gusts will make holiday travel treacherous in swaths of the northern United States.

A storm is expected to bring rain and then snow to the Pacific Northwest as temperatures hover around freezing on Friday night.

The same system will also dump heavy snow in the Rockies and High Plains late into Saturday, the National Weather Service said in its forecast.

Snow and freezing rain are also in the forecast for much of the Midwest and Northeast late on Friday and through Saturday as temperatures are to dip around freezing, the weather service said.

The deteriorating weather may derail travel plans for some of the 94 million Americans who the American Automobile Association say will hit the roads during the holidays.

“Christmas, for travelers, is going to be a little dicey in some portions of the country,” meteorologist Justin Povick said during his forecast on Accuweather.com.

Accuweather warns that blizzard conditions in the northern Plains over the weekend could cause treacherous white-outs along major interstate highways, power outages and airline delays.

“People from the central Plains and middle Mississippi Valley to the central Plains will need to keep an eye out for rapidly changing weather conditions,” Meteorologist Brett Rossio said on AccuWeather.com.

Signs of how bad weather may cause disruptions for holiday travelers were seen as early as Thursday morning as nearly 250 flights were delayed or canceled in and out Los Angeles International Airport due to high winds and high volume.

A blizzard watch is in effect for the area around Bismarck, North Dakota, where as much as a foot (30 cm) of snow fall and heavy winds will lead to “dangerous Christmas travel conditions”, the National Weather Service said.

To the east, in northern Wisconsin and Michigan, motorists are told to “exercise caution” as snow and freezing drizzle are expected to limit visibility and make roads slick, the National Weather Service said.

Tornadoes, thunderstorms and hail are also in the forecast in the southern U.S. Plains, Accuweather said.

As their neighbors to the north deal with winter weather, people in southern Missouri, Kentucky and Tennessee will enjoy unseasonably warm weather on Christmas Day as temperatures are likely to soar into the 60s, according to the National Weather Service.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Alison Williams)