NewsThe Latest: Tornado warning for Joplin, Missouri•Flooding in Kingfisher, Okla. is pictured Tuesday, May 21, 2019. Flooding following heavy rains was an issue across the state. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Latest on storm damage in the Southern Plains and Midwest (all times local):8:30 p.m.A tornado warning has been issued for the city of Joplin, Missouri, eight years to the day since a massive tornado devastated the city and killed 161 people.The National Weather Service in Springfield, Missouri, said the warning continues until 8:45 p.m. CDT for the cities of Joplin, Webb City and Carl Junction.The Joplin tornado on May 22, 2011, was one of the strongest and most destructive in U.S. history._8:20 p.m.Tornadoes snaked across the countryside of northeastern Oklahoma, spreading concern but only scattered reports of damage and no injuries.The National Weather Service listed 10 tornadoes reported Wednesday afternoon from areas of northeastern Oklahoma. Most were brief touchdowns.The greater threat was flooding from rain-swollen rivers. In Tulsa, aerial video and videos showed the flooded Arkansas River encroaching on the River Spirit Casino Resort, forcing the resort to close._6:45 p.m.Oklahoma City officials are warning residents near a small private lake in the northeastern part of the city to take precautions because the dam is in danger of failing.In a statement Tuesday afternoon, city officials said more rain is expected, further endangering the dam. If the dam fails, flash flooding could be unleashed downstream. Roads have been closed as a precaution._5:30 p.m.Officials of a small Arkansas River town in eastern Oklahoma have appealed to its 600 residents to evacuate the town.Residents of Webbers Falls have been ordered to seek safe ground as a major flood was expected on the river. An official posting on the town’s Facebook page called the situation „life-threatening.” It warned that those who disregarded the evacuation appeal would do so at their own risk and should mark their names and personal information on their arms in permanent ink.Storms Tuesday were dumping heavy rain on ground and rivers already swollen from recent days of heavy rain._4:35 p.m.A handful of residents in Missouri’s capital city and some businesses have been ordered to leave as the Missouri River rises.Jefferson City issued a mandatory evacuation order Wednesday for residents and businesses on the north side of the river. The capitol building, state penitentiary and nearly all of the city’s homes are on the south side of the river.Residents of several communities in Oklahoma and Kansas also have been urged to evacuate as rivers and streams rise.Jefferson City police Lt. Dave Williams estimated that only about five to 10 homes are in the area that’s under a mandatory evacuation.As a precaution, the Missouri National Guard also moved four helicopters out of the city’s airport, which also is on the north side of the river. And a Memorial Day weekend airshow was canceled._3:40 p.m.Recent rains are creating new flooding risks along the Missouri River.The Army Corps of Engineers says about 50 levees in Missouri could be overtopped by Saturday as high water levels move downstream. Most of the threatened area is farmland.Recent storms in the central U.S. are also causing flooding woes in Kansas and Oklahoma.The Missouri is expected to crest Thursday at 36.1 feet (11 meters) near the town of Glasgow, Missouri, overtopping agricultural levees and inundating some homes, highways and parkland. The National Weather Service has warned of moderate flooding in several other river towns.The river has been flooding off and on since March, breaching dozens of levees and causing billions of dollars of damage to farmland, homes and businesses across the Midwest._2:50 p.m.More Oklahoma residents are being encouraged to evacuate because of expected flooding that’s also prompted concerns in Missouri and Kansas.Authorities on Wednesday encouraged people living along the Arkansas River in the Tulsa suburb of Bixby and low-lying areas near creeks both north and south of Okmulgee, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of Tulsa. to leave their homes.Residents in the Tulsa suburb of Sand Springs; Fort Gibson, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Tulsa; and Webbers Falls, some 70 miles (113 kilometers) southeast of Tulsa, were advised earlier to evacuate because of flooding forecast on the Arkansas River.Residents along the Cimarron River were evacuating as the riverbank eroded beneath their homes about 34 miles (55 kilometers) north of Oklahoma City.One unoccupied home rolled off the river bank and into the Cimarron River on Tuesday. Authorities say parts of others ae hanging over the riverbank and are threatened with collapsing.
Severe storms, possibly with large hail, were forecast for Wednesday from Texas to the Great Lakes, the National Weather Service said. Forecasters had placed portions of eastern Kansas and western Missouri under a „moderate” risk for severe weather later Wednesday. That’s level 4 on the 5-level risk scale for severe storms. Flooding was a concern to the south: Residents of some small towns in Oklahoma and Kansas were being urged to leave their homes as rivers and streams rose. The Arkansas River is approaching historic highs, while the already high Missouri and Mississippi Rivers were again rising Wednesday.There were 33 reports of tornadoes on Tuesday, mostly in Missouri and Kansas, the weather service’s Storm Prediction Center reported. On Monday, 24 tornadoes were reported, mostly in Texas and Oklahoma, AccuWeather said.An Iowa woman was killed and her husband injured when a tornado blew through their Adair County home early Wednesday, authorities said. Robert Kempf, the emergency management coordinator for Adair and Guthrie counties, said „the home is pretty well destroyed. The roof is off it. Some of the walls are standing and some aren’t.”The weather service rated the tornado as an EF-2, with winds estimated at 120-130 mph. Michelle Underwood searches through the wreckage of a feed store where she stored most of her belongings in Peggs, Okla., Tuesday, May 21, 2019 In Missouri, heavy rain was a contributing factor in a car crash near Springfield that killed two people, the Missouri Highway Patrol said.A woman was also killed Tuesday in Payne County, Oklahoma, after she drove her vehicle around a barricade and was swept away by high water, KFOR-TVreported.Flights in and out of Lambert Airport in St. Louis were halted for about an hour late Tuesday while a strong storm passed through the region. Earlier, a tornado roared near Tulsa International Airport. One person was injured as travelers were briefly moved to shelters and some flights were canceled.In Stillwater, Oklahoma State University shut down and emergency responders were rescuing people from homes overwhelmed by high water. El Reno, 25 miles west of Oklahoma City, was partially underwater.City Hall and schools were closed, and first responders were „working diligently to assist the citizens affected by high water,” Mayor Matt White said.High winds and storms also forced Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport to alter traffic patterns, causing some arriving flights to be delayed almost two hours.While storms continue to batter the central U.S., extreme heat will be the main weather story in the Southeast for the next several days. Record-breaking high temperatures, some nearing 100 degrees, are possible in several states from Alabama to Virginia.Earlier in the week, storms Monday produced golf-ball-size hail and strong wind gusts across parts of Texas and Oklahoma. Confirmed tornadoes left damage behind near Mangum, Oklahoma, and Paducah, Texas, AccuWeather said.The severe weather this week comes after a string of wild-weather days across the Midwest last week, when at least 50 reports of tornadoes were logged across the central and southern Plains, AccuWeather said.Contributin: The Associated PressThis article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 4 dead as killer tornadoes, floods slam Central US
IBM’s new decision software tool promises to save and make money for all kinds of businesses, big and small. The tool is called Weather Signals and Big Blue’s subsidiary The Weather Company, known as The Weather Channel app, said it can add 12% to 20% back to a company’s bottom line.
Company executives love to blame the bad weather for their poor performance, Weather Company CEO Cameron Clayton told Yahoo Finance On the Move. “That excuse, we are turning it into an opportunity especially for retailers to be able to change the answer going forward to make much better predictions about what kind of stock they need, what kind of staffing levels they should apply and what future trends should be,” he said.
How Weather Signals works
Businesses that sign up for Weather Signals submit shipping, stocking and sales data to The Weather Company. That information is merged with billions of data points IBM’s supercomputer system Watson has collected regarding the weather worldwide. Weather Signals then creates a model unique to each individual business that shows how fluctuations in temperature and even really big storms can affect a business. That kind of information can help a business make more money.
Weather forecasts used to be about 55% accurate but today they are 86% accurate, according to Clayton. “And so basically what I tell people is I will pay you $5 every time we are wrong if you pay me $5 every time we are right,” he said. Cameron adds that helping retailers make better decisions about supply chain can save them millions of dollars.
Beer on sunny days, chocolate when its cloudy
For instance, Weather Signals shows that sunny weather actually increases sales of beer and soda. But how much of a boost in sales depends on where you live. In New York, beer and soda sales increase 16%, but in Vermont it’s up 9%. So, a retailer using Weather Signals can adjust their stock accordingly.
Meanwhile, cloudy weather boosts sales of chocolate, according to Weather Signals. Rhode island leads the way with a 37% increase in chocolate sales when it’s cloudy out. Frozen dinners are a big hit during polar vortexes like those that chilled the United States last winter. People stock up on frozen dinners, especially frozen pizza, when the temperature falls. Consumers in Massachusetts lead the way in terms of frozen food purchases.
IBM Watson is ‘the magic’
IBM’s Watson is “the magic” that powers Weather Signals, according to Clayton. “This is a flagship example of the scale of data that is not possible without AI,” he said. Clayton points out the same software is also being used to help farmers more accurately predict the weather. That information can help them increase crop yields at harvest.
A large farm was losing 30% of its crop due to poor irrigation, Clayton said. When the farm used the Watson-powered Decision for Agriculture platform, it learned it was using 20% more water than it needed. Some farmers have too little water but that wasn’t the problem in this case.
“That’s where the magic of the scale of IBM AI and weather data comes together,” said Clayton, who predicts that Weather Signals is going be the tool that brings AI and the huge quantity of data it can process to help farmers, retailers and supply chains make better decisions.
Adam Shapiro is co-anchor of Yahoo Finance On the Move.
(Recasts, adds Oklahoma flooding)
May 22 (Reuters) – Weather forecasters on Wednesday expected drenching rains to roll into the storm-ravaged U.S. southern and central states, where thunderstorms and tornadoes killed at least three people and triggered widespread flooding.
More than 30 tornadoes struck a swath from Texas to Iowa since Monday, according to the National Weather Service, and residents in at least three Oklahoma riverfront communities were urged to evacuate due to flooding.
One person was killed and another was injured when a tornado struck the rural town of Adair, Iowa, about 50 miles (80 km)west of Des Moines, at about 1:30 a.m. local time, the weather service said.
While the weakening storm system moved into the Great Lakes region early Wednesday, another system was expected to brew Wednesday night into Thursday, said Brian Hurley, a forecaster with the service’s Weather Prediction Center.
„The southern Plains can’t catch a break,” Hurley said. „That whole area is still under the gun.”
Rainfall is predicted to be about 2 inches (5 cm) across eastern Kansas, Oklahoma, and into western Missouri, with localized spots getting up to 5 inches (13 cm), he said.
In Oklahoma, heavy rainfall prompted the Army Corps of Engineers to plan to increase the water flow at the Keystone Dam on the Arkansas River by nearly 30%, putting some low-lying communities at risk.
State emergency officials issued evacuation advisories for residents in parts of the Tulsa suburb of Sand Springs, Fort Gibson, about 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Tulsa, and Webbers Falls, 70 miles (113 km) southeast of Tulsa.
„At this point it is voluntary,” Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management spokesman Jerry Lojka said by phone.
„The major concern is that all of those communities are right on the Arkansas River,” said Lojka. „They’re pretty close to flood stage as it is and if they increase the flow, they’re afraid that it’s going to go over its banks.”
In Missouri, cresting rivers prompted Governor Mike Parson to declare a state of emergency on Tuesday.
Forecasters said the Missouri River was expected to crest on Thursday at more than 32 feet (9.75 meters) at the state capital, Jefferson City. Local media said that would be 2 feet (61 cm) higher than the city’s levees.
Two people died in a traffic accident late Monday on a rain-slicked Missouri highway, police said. Another seven people were injured in Wheatland when a tornado struck the Lucas Oil Speedway. (Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Additional reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Jonathan Oatis)
Hurricane season doesn’t officially start until June 1, but weather doesn’t wait, and this year’s first named storm is already upon us. Subtropical Storm Andrea formed in the Atlantic late Monday night and, as of 11 a.m. Tuesday, had weakened to a Subtropical Depression about 280 miles west-southwest of Bermuda, according to the National Hurricane Center. Andrea poses no real threat at this time-but more will be coming.
How Storms Are Named
Andrea was officially named after it reached sustained winds of 39 mph. Each year’s list of storm names is maintained by the World Meteorological Organization; six complete lists of alternating male and female names are used in rotation. But if a storm is so damaging that it becomes infamous, such as Katrina in 2005 or or Sandy in 2012, that name is retired from the list and replaced with a new one. The next storm to reach the naming threshold in 2019 will be dubbed Barry, followed by Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, and Gabrielle.
What to Expect From This Year’s Hurricane Season
Thankfully, experts predict a slightly below-average hurricane season in the Atlantic for 2019. According to researchers at Colorado State University’s Tropical Meteorology Project, about 13 named storms are expected before the season officially ends on November 30, but only five will be full-fledged hurricanes, and just two of those will be considered „major.” (A major hurricane is defined as Category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, with sustained winds of 111-129 mph or beyond.) By contrast, 2018’s hurricane activity was slightly above average and included Florence, which caused catastrophic damage and flooding in the Carolinas.
How to Prepare Your Home
According to the National Weather Service, one of the best things Gulf and Atlantic Coast residents can do to prepare for a storm is to keep an emergency kit at the ready. Stock it in advance, before warnings are issued and the stores are cleared out, and make sure it includes crucial basics like flashlights, batteries, a first-aid kit, and enough bottled water and nonperishable food to last several days. Download a complete checklist to follow here.
The NWS also offers five key tips to strengthen your home against possible hurricane damage:
- Keep trees near the house trimmed to prevent damage from broken branches.
- Have materials to board up your windows on hand.
- Bring unsecured outdoor items, like patio furniture and planters, inside.
- Move your car into the garage or to a separate, secure location.
- Secure all doors on your property, especially garage doors, which are usually the most vulnerable.
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Thunderstorms embedded with lightning and hail moved across Southern California on Wednesday as winter-like weather persisted through late spring in many parts of the state.
The unusual conditions caused by low-pressure systems dropping out of Canada were expected to continue into the Memorial Day weekend, potentially impacting traditional outdoor activities.
The cold weather in California comes as other parts of the West were hit by late spring storms. A storm dumped heavy, wet snow in Colorado and Wyoming, cancelling flights and snapping newly greened-up tree limbs. In Arizona, where 100-degree (37.75-Celsius) temperatures are not uncommon in May, areas in the northern part of the state saw snow this week.
In California, one person was hospitalized with moderate injuries after lightning struck a middle school campus in Beaumont, about 80 miles (129 kilometers) east of Los Angeles, fire officials said. Another person was treated at the scene.
A winter weather advisory was in effect east of Los Angeles in the mountains of San Bernardino and Riverside counties, where recreational areas are normally gearing up for summer by this time of year.
There could be up to 4 inches (10 centimeters) of snow at elevations from 5,500 to 7,500 feet (1,676 to 2,286 meters) and up to 8 inches (20.3 centimeters) at higher elevations, the National Weather Service said.
Caltrans urged motorists to bring chains and warm clothes if they headed up into the mountains.
More than an inch (2.5 centimeters) of rain fell during a 12-hour span in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel Air, the weather service reported.
To the north, the Sierra Nevada was finally free of winter weather advisories after a hefty boost to an already heavy snowpack.
The Squaw Valley resort at Lake Tahoe reported Wednesday morning it had received 32 inches (81.2 centimeters) of snow over seven days, boosting its season total to 714 inches (1,813.5 centimeters).
Southeast of Yosemite National Park, snow showers added to a similar total atop Mammoth Mountain. Winds initially limited operations, but they died down enough to allow more lifts to serve skiers seeking fresh powder.
„May just won’t stop delivering snow,” the resort said on its website. Mammoth had already had so much snow by February it announced plans to stay open to skiing and boarding through the Fourth of July.
The coast and offshore waters also resembled winter. High surf and small craft advisories were posted along the state’s shoreline, with gale warnings for the waters farther out.