US storm brings tornadoes, blizzard-like conditions; 2 dead
DALLAS (AP) — A destructive storm marched across the United States, spawning tornadoes that touched down in parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana, where two deaths were reported, and it delivered blizzard-like conditions to the Great Plains and threatened more severe weather Wednesday in the South.
In northern Louisiana, a young boy was found dead in a wooded area more than a half-mile from his home in the Keithville area, just south of Shreveport, Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator said. The child’s mother was later found dead one street over from her home, he said.
The child’s father reported them missing from their home, which the sheriff said was demolished in the storm.
“We couldn’t even find the house that he was describing with the address. Everything was gone,” Prator told Shreveport TV station KSLA.
In Farmerville, Louisiana, about 90 miles (145 kilometers) to the east of Keithville, about 20 people were taken to a hospital, some with critical injuries, after a tornado caused major damage to mobile homes and an apartment complex, the Union Parish Sheriff’s Office told Monroe TV station KNOE.
Wednesday’s forecast calls for more severe storms and potentially additional tornadoes along the central Gulf Coast, including New Orleans and southern Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle,
Earlier Tuesday, five tornadoes were confirmed across north Texas based on video and eyewitness reports, but potentially a dozen may have occurred, the National Weather Service in Fort Worth, Texas, reported.
Dozens of homes and businesses were damaged by the line of thunderstorms, and several people were injured in the suburbs and counties stretching north of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. More than 1,000 flights into and out of area airports were delayed, and over 100 were canceled Tuesday, according to the tracking service FlightAware.
Blizzard warnings stretched from Montana into western Nebraska and Colorado, and the National Weather Service said as much as 2 feet (61 centimeters) of snow was possible in some areas of western South Dakota and northwestern Nebraska. Winds of more than 50 mph (80 kph) at times will make it impossible to see outdoors in Nebraska, officials said.
“There’s essentially no one traveling right now,” said Justin McCallum, a manager at the Flying J truck stop at Ogallala, Nebraska.
Forecasters expect the storm system to hobble the upper Midwest with ice, rain and snow for days, as well as move into the Northeast and central Appalachians. Residents from West Virginia to Vermont were told to watch out for a possible significant mix of snow, ice and sleet, and the National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch from Wednesday night through Friday afternoon, depending on the timing of the storm.
In the Dallas suburb of Grapevine, police spokesperson Amanda McNew reported five confirmed injuries Tuesday.
A possible tornado blew the roof off the city’s service center — a municipal facility — and left pieces of the roof hanging from powerlines, said Trent Kelley, deputy director of Grapevine Parks and Recreation.
It was also trash day, so the storm picked up and scattered garbage all over, he said.
In Colorado, all roads were closed in the northeast quadrant of the state. The severe weather in the ranching region could also threaten livestock. Extreme winds can push livestock through fences as they follow the gale’s direction, said Jim Santomaso, a northeast representative for the Colorado Cattlemen’s Association.
“If this keeps up,” said Santomaso, “cattle could drift miles.”
A blizzard warning has been issued on Minnesota’s north shore, as some areas are expecting up to 24 inches of snow and wind gusts up to 40 mph. And in the south of the state, winds gusting up to 50 mph (80 kph) had reduced visibility.
National Weather Service meteorologist Melissa Dye in the Twin Cities said this is a “long duration event” with snow, ice and rain through Friday night. Minnesota was expecting a lull Wednesday, followed by a second round of snow.
The same weather system dumped heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada and western U.S. in recent days.
Groves reported from Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Associated Press writers Ken Miller in Oklahoma City; Jill Bleed in Little Rock, Arkansas; Sam Metz in Salt Lake City; Trisha Ahmed in Minneapolis; Jesse Bedayn in Denver; Margery Beck in Omaha, Nebraska; and Robert Jablon in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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