Wednesday, April 27, 2016

EXTREME WEATHER: Tornadoes, Large Hail, Flash Flooding Strikes Midwestern, Great Plains American States - Widespread Destruction; Thousands Without Power; Over 11,000 LIGHTNING STRIKES; Major Gas Leak In Oklahoma; More Than 180 Reports Of Hail-Related Damage; Strong Winds, Lightning And Rainfall Are Expected To Continue Into Wednesday! [PHOTOS + VIDEOS]

Dark clouds over in Graham off Hwy 16. This is the view from
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April 27, 2016 - UNITED STATES - A particularly nasty April storm caused a handful of tornadoes, and brought strong rains and thunderstorms in the central United States.

As night fell Tuesday, there were tornado warnings in Oklahoma and Texas while states like Kansas and Kentucky were getting blasted by thunderstorms, radar showed. A flash flood warning was in effect for western parts of Kansas City through early Wednesday morning.

Five tornadoes were spotted in four states -- Texas, Indiana, Kansas and Missouri -- according to the National Weather Service.

Another one may have struck Oklahoma, but it has not been confirmed by the National Weather Service.McIntosh County Emergency Manager Harry Trottier said a tornado ripped through the middle of the town of Checotah, Oklahoma according to various spotters. He also said there are no reports of injuries, but the storm did cause a major gas leak.


Map shows where severe weather warnings on Tuesday, April 26, 2016. CBS News

Forecasters posted a tornado watch for Oklahoma and Texas, saying the atmosphere could still be unsettled enough for twisters to develop.

"This is a particularly dangerous situation," the Storm Prediction Center alerted in red type in an afternoon advisory. It uses such language on only about 7 percent of its tornado watches. Forecasters had predicted a 90 percent chance of tornadoes and said 80 percent could have winds above 111 mph in much of Oklahoma and northern Texas.

A twister caused extensive damage in downtown Checotah, Oklahoma late Tuesday, and a search and rescue operation was underway at the Fire Department there after it was hit by high winds tha tmight have been from a tornado, reports CBS Tulsa affiliate KOTV.

The National Weather Service said tennis ball-sized hail was reported in parts of south-central Nebraska.

One person was injured in Grayson County, Texas -- where a tornado was spotted -- according to officials.

More than 17,000 customers in Oklahoma lost power, according to electric companies in the state.

The power company Ameren reported 28,000 outages in the St. Louis area.


Brandon Nolan holds hail in his hand Tuesday, April 26, 2016, in West Wichita, Kan. AP

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Roof torn off house and laying in the yard aways from it. Triple X and 220th.
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Lightning from storms in E OK near Lake Eufaula
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Strong winds by took down the fence of my apartment
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pointing out wild sky Texoma right now -- mammatus clouds he assure me this is amazing
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Wicked hits Olivette, . Photo by Share yours w/
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Dime- and nickel-sized hail spotted in Jewell, Kansas
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A severe storm that moved through Wichita, Kansas, produced hail as large as baseballs.
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Hail the size of quarters fell on parts of the St. Louis region. Wind knocked over trees and power lines in Warren, Franklin and St. Charles counties in Missouri.

The region was under thunderstorm watches through most of the evening.

Some Indiana residents have reported seeing a tornado in the Ohio River community of Newburgh, but the fire chief says there was no confirmation of a touch down.

Thunder and lightning were also omnipresent in the region; about 11,000 lightning strikes were recorded during a 30 minute period late Tuesday from Kansas City south to Dallas, according to CNN Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri.

The National Weather Service said 67 mph winds were reported at Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield, Missouri.

Director of aviation John Bales said the airport was bracing for the worst when the sky turned green Tuesday, but there wasn't substantial damage.

Nickel-sized hail fell and the wind kicked up. A few trees and a power line snapped.


And there were more than 180 reports of hail-related damage.

It appears that the tornado threat is likely nearing its end, Javaheri says. But straight-line winds -- which could reach up to 80 mph -- lightning and rain are expected to continue as the storm heads east.
Matthew Day, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Norman, Oklahoma, told CNN there were two circulations in northeast Oklahoma City, but the darkness prevented spotters from confirming if either was a tornado.

What to do if a tornado is heading your way

Police officers were headed to the area to help assess the damage, said Christie Yeager, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma City emergency management office.

"The storm pushed through most of the city and touched down towards the very edge of the city. That's the good news," she said. There weren't yet reports of damage.

Earlier, the National Weather Service said one tornado had been spotted Tuesday night about 25 miles west of Bloomington, Indiana, and another was seen to the south in Vanderburgh County.

Amy Mangold with Evansville Emergency Management said there were no reports of injuries but there were initial descriptions of trees down and poles that had fallen on buildings.

In Kansas, the weather service's office in Wichita said Tuesday evening that there were several reports of hail bigger than golf balls.

One resident of the city posted a photo of a piece of hail almost as big as her palm.

Wichita also experienced heavy rain and hail. In Kansas City, Missouri, golf sized hail put dents in vehicles at the Kansas City airport.






A video posted by Katie-Rose Watson (@krwatson) on









A video posted by Leah Wilmington (@lwilming) on







The National Weather Service warned of an increased danger of flash flooding in Kansas between Manhattan and Topeka because of heavy rains.

Schools in large sections of Kansas canceled classes and extracurricular activities as the potentially dangerous storms approached.

Wichita State University closed all of its locations at noon Tuesday and postponed baseball and softball games scheduled for Tuesday evening. Schools and other organizations stretching from Arkansas City to Topeka also canceled many after-school activities.

Winds up to 60 mph were reported west of Topeka as cloud rotation spawned numerous tornado warnings that later were allowed to expire.

A tornado watch was posted encompassing North Texas, western central Texas and most of Oklahoma midnight. A tornado watch was posted in central and eastern Kansas and southern Nebraska, as well.

Officials at McConnell Air Force Base evacuated aircraft at the base in Wichita as a precaution. The planes and support personnel were sent to Washington and North Dakota.

Baseball-size hail was reported in Hanover, Kansas. More than two inches of rain fell in northeast Kansas as the system slices diagonally across the state.

At the airport in Cincinnati, Ohio, passenger Leah Wilmington had to sit on a plane as torrential rain prevented her departure.

"Hmm I think I'm going to miss my connection...," she wrote, the rain so heavy it was difficult to see the planes at nearby gates.

At least two Oklahoma school districts decided the threat was significant enough to shut down for the day. Others opted to dismiss early, citing the threat of severe weather.

Among them: public schools in Moore, Oklahoma, where a 2013 tornado that ravaged the city flattened a school building, killing seven children.

Be prepared

Forecasters advised people in the storm-threatened areas to prepare.

"Make sure you have a severe weather plan for you and your family," Bunting said. "If you don't, today is the day to develop it."

Storm Prediction Center tornado safety tips

Among his tips ahead of the storms:
• Know where to seek shelter in your home or building.
• Have a way to get in touch with family or friends, or set a designated meeting point, to let them know you're OK after the storm.
• Have multiple ways of receiving information and weather alerts, including a weather radio and weather apps on your smartphone. Also make sure your phone is set to receive emergency weather alerts. In some phones it's under general settings, and in others, it's in the message settings.
Severe thunderstorms will shift eastward and threaten areas from Houston to St. Louis on Wednesday.

"As storms exit the Plains, the focus will shift to the middle and lower Mississippi valleys on Wednesday," AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rathbun said.

"All modes of severe weather are likely again on Wednesday, including large hail, damaging winds, flooding rainfall and isolated tornadoes," Rathbun said.



- CNN | CBS | AccuWeather.







 

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