Central US severe weather: Powerful storm rolls across central US, unleashing at least 14 tornadoes

One person died and several were injured in Monette, Arkansas, after a tornado struck a nursing home, according to Craighead County Judge Marvin Day.

Local officials had previously said that two people were killed, but Day said the local coroner has since determined that there was only one death.

“They have all been taken out of the nursing home and accounted for,” said city mayor Bob Blankenship. “We have a triage center set up at the local school where people are being treated and others have been transported to local hospitals.”

In Tennessee, several structures were damaged and an unknown number of people were trapped in Samburg, according to Union City Police Chief Karl Ullrich. Samburg is in the northwestern part of the state, north of Memphis.

“It’s just a small community. It’s pretty flat,” Obion County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher Judy Faulkner told CNN.

In Illinois, an Amazon warehouse was damaged in Edwardsville, which is 24 miles east of St. Louis, Missouri.

Law enforcement agencies did not immediately provide details on the severity of the damage to the building, but Ayesha White told CNN affiliate KMOV that a family member is an employee who was trapped inside.

“They were really calm. They were just trying to figure out how to get out,” White said. Video from the scene showed a great emergency response.

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said he had reached out to the mayor of Edwardsville to offer help.

“My prayers go out to the people of Edwardsville tonight, and I reached out to the Mayor to provide the necessary state resources. Our @ILStatePolice and @ReadyIllinois are coordinating closely with local officials, and I will continue to monitor the situation,” the Governor he said in a tweet.

Tornadoes have been reported in Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center.

Overall, more than 55 million people across the country were at risk of severe storms on Friday.

“This dynamic and expanding storm will affect more than half of the country. It is a classic collision of air masses,” said CNN meteorologist Gene Norman.

As cold, arctic air surges to the south, it will collide with record warm and humid air in the south, causing severe storms where air masses meet.

Tornado watches have previously been issued for central and eastern Arkansas, southeastern Missouri, northwestern Mississippi, western Tennessee, western Kentucky, southern Illinois and southwestern Indiana, according to the Prediction Center. of Storms.

The clock is in effect until 11 pm CST and includes Memphis, Tennessee; Little Rock, Arkansas; Paducah, Kentucky; and Evansville, Indiana.

Strong thunderstorms are expected to develop and storm coverage to increase overnight. In addition to tornadoes, wind gusts of up to 75 mph and hail up to 2 inches in diameter are also possible.

A second tornado watch was issued Friday night for parts of Missouri and Illinois. The clock is also in effect until 11 p.m. CST and includes St. Louis, Jefferson City, and Springfield in Missouri and Springfield and Quincy in Illinois.

By mid-afternoon Friday, five tornado alerts spread from northeast Texas and eastern Oklahoma to central Tennessee and Kentucky. One of the newer clocks includes Nashville and Louisville, Kentucky, and is current until 2 a.m. CST.

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a moderate risk of severe storms (level 4 of 5) for more than 2 million people, including in the city of Memphis. This area has the highest probability of strong EF2-EF5 tornadoes with winds of at least 111 mph or higher.

The last time there was a moderate risk of severe storms released in December was on December 16, 2019.

An enhanced risk (level 3) surrounds this moderate risk zone and covers major cities such as Indianapolis, Nashville, St. Louis, Missouri, and Louisville, Kentucky.

Meanwhile, a mild risk (level 2) of severe storms encompasses the area of ​​greatest risk and extends from eastern Texas to northern Indiana. There is also a marginal risk – level 1 – of severe storms extending from the Texas Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes.

“The main concerns will be occasional tornadoes (some potentially capable of damaging EF2 +) and scattered and damaging storm bursts,” the forecast center said Friday morning. “Although late afternoon development near the front is possible, the overwhelming majority of strong-severe convection should occur after dark.”

Severe storms that develop after dark pose a significant threat to nighttime tornadoes, some of which can be strong, according to the prediction center.

“Nighttime tornadoes are statistically more than twice as deadly as daytime storms,” ​​said CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen.

The southern states, including Tennessee, Kentucky, and Arkansas, experience more tornadoes at night than any other region. This can lead to higher death toll as many people sleep and do not realize a tornado is approaching.

That is why it is important to have an alert system, such as a weather radio or an app on your phone, that can wake you up if a tornado watch or warning is issued in your area.

Winter is returning for much of the United States.

In the northern part of this system, snow will cover a large part of the country from the Intermountain West to the Upper Great Lakes through Saturday. More than 10 million Americans are under some type of winter weather alert from this system.

The Minnesota State Patrol responded to 136 crashes before 4 p.m. Friday, according to a tweet from the agency. Eight of those accidents were semi-trailer trucks. Thirteen were accidents with injuries.

The Twin Cities area is currently under a snow emergency.

Light snow fell Friday morning at Denver International Airport, meaning the area finally recorded its first measurable snow of the season, defined as one tenth of an inch or more.

This ends the record snow drought the city was experiencing. Since 1882, the city had never reached December without measurable snow. The previous record for most recent measurable snow was November 21, 1934.

The city also went 232 consecutive days without measurable snow, the second longest streak in recorded history. The record is 235 days: from March 5 to October 25, 1887.

Snow is expected to be light in Denver, and the forecast calls for about 1 inch of accumulation today, with figures higher in the western mountains.

A woman walks a dog Friday as someone seeks shelter on the steps of a church after a storm hit Denver.

Elsewhere, many motorists will be forced to test their winter driving skills for the first time this season as conditions rapidly deteriorate under a swath of heavy snow from Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Marquette, Michigan.

“As this is the first widespread and significant snowfall of the season, residents of these areas are urged to plan ahead and take appropriate precautions if they do venture into the storm,” the forecasting center explained.

Snowfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour are possible tonight through Saturday morning over a large stretch of the Upper Midwest and the Great Lakes region.

A large 6-inch area of ​​snow is anticipated, with up to one foot possible where the center of the low-pressure system rotates and throws the heaviest snowfall. This area includes southern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, and parts of the Upper Michigan Peninsula.

Heavy snowfall will be accompanied by strong gusts of wind that will make travel conditions extremely difficult.

Snow blowing in wind gusts over 50 mph will reduce visibility and create slippery roads from the Central Plains to the upper Great Lakes. The potential impacts of travel could be greatest in the heavily traveled Interstate 90 corridor.

Strong winds are expected behind the system

As the storm moved east on Friday night, it was expected to intensify.

A High Wind Watch was in effect from Saturday morning through Saturday night over much of southern Michigan, including Detroit, where southwest winds of 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 60 mph are possible.

This could cause trees and power lines to fall. “It is possible that there will be widespread power outages,” warns the meteorological service.

Those high winds will also affect areas in and around Lake Michigan, including Chicago, as a gale watch remains in effect from Friday night through Saturday afternoon.

As the storm moves through the area, northwest winds of 25 to 35 knots are expected with gusts of up to 45 knots along with waves of 6 to 13 feet.

CNN Meteorologist Dave Hennen contributed to this story.


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