LIVE: Storms leave behind trail of damage as severe weather outbreak advances east by Brian Lada•A severe weather outbreak is ripping across the southern United States with nearly 40 million Americans at risk for damaging thunderstorms and tornadoes.Preparations began on Thursday night as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced in a press release that numerous state resources were being placed on standby in advance of the severe weather.”As severe weather approaches the state of Texas, resources have been placed on standby to assist local officials in the event they are needed,” said Gov. Abbott. „All residents should heed warnings from local officials and pay attention to weather alerts. I ask that all Texans keep those in the storm’s path and all of Texas’ first responders in their prayers as they deal with the effects of this storm.”
The outbreak began to unfold on Friday morning in western Oklahoma as reports of golf ball-sized hail were reported in the town of Leedey, located about 130 miles northwest of Oklahoma City.
By Friday evening, dozens of tornado warnings had been issued across the region, including one for part of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The tornado warning issued shortly after 6 p.m. CST Friday went into effect for 1.7 million people as well as the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.
Farther north, a confirmed tornado left behind damage to homes and buildings near Fair Grove, Missouri, and disrupted travel across the town.
The severe weather is expected to spread into Arkansas, east Texas and Louisiana through Friday night. The center of that region – in an area that includes major cities such as Little Rock, Arkansas, and Shreveport, Louisiana – is expected to be at the highest risk for tornadoes. Click here for a detailed forecast on the severe weather outbreak.
The severe weather, which is being triggered by a sweeping cold front, is expected to bring strong tornadoes and violent wind gusts with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 80 mph, potentially leading to widespread structural damage and power outages.
„I think there’s gonna be wind, hail and I think we’re gonna see tornadoes on the ground,” AccuWeather Chief Broadcast Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said on AccuWeather’s Weather Insider podcast. „The question is: How many?”
9:25 p.m. CST Friday
About 35,000 customers are without power across the state of Texas, according to PowerOutage.US.
As the severe weather treks eastward, it leaves behind over 545 flights delayed and over 445 flights canceled at Dallas-Fort International Airport, according to FlightAware. Another 69 flights were delayed and 142 flights were canceled at Dallas Love Field.
9 p.m. CST Friday
At 9 p.m. CST, the NWS’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service recorded Elm Fork Trinity River at Gainesville, Texas, at 23.68 feet – about 21 feet above the level it had been at over the past few days. The site is currently in a moderate flood stage. A major flood stage for the area is 24.6 feet.
|(Image/NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service)|
8:50 p.m. CST Friday
Pieces of a hotel building’s facade was torn from the wall in Irving, Texas, amid severe weather. Earlier, a UPS truck had reportedly flipped along I-635 in the area. The driver had cited strong winds as the cause of the accident and is okay.
8:20 p.m. CST Friday:
A UPS truck reportedly flipped along I-635 W in Irving, Texas. The driver told AccuWeather that the strong winds blew his truck over, but he was okay. Nearby, Love Field Airport reported a wind gust of 31 mph, and Dallas Fort-Worth recorded gusts in the high 20s.
7:52 p.m. CST Friday:
The National Weather Service said that there was a „large and extremely dangerous tornado on the ground” at 7:52 p.m. CST. This is a particularly dangerous situation.
According to the National Weather Service, a „large and extremely dangerous tornado” is on the ground and near Scranton, Arkansas
This is a Particularly Dangerous Situation. People in the path of this tornado-warned storm need to seek shelter immediately: https://bit.ly/37TL2mt https://twitter.com/breakingweather/status/1215813379501305857 …
LIVE: Tornado watches issued in Oklahoma, Texas as severe weather outbreak begins in southern US
Nearly 40 million Americans across the southern United States are facing a multi-day severe weather outbreak, which is sparking damaging winds and tornadoes.
7:51 p.m. CST: A tornado warning is in effect for Scranton, Arkansas, and will pass over I-40 near Clarksville, Arkansas in the next 15 minutes: https://bit.ly/37TL2mt
The National Weather Service included this incident in the tornado reports of the day, including that firefighters had reported power lines down across Highway 109 between Prairie View and Midway.
6:15 p.m. CST Friday:
A new tornado warning was issued close to Dallas, spanning across an area that includes 1.7 million people, 350 schools and 21 hospitals. The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport also lies within the tornado warning. As pf 6:15 p.m. CST, over 450 flights have been delayed and nearly 400 more have been canceled.
6 p.m. CST Friday:
As of 6 p.m. CST, there have been two tornadoes confirmed by the National Weather Service– one in Polk County, Missouri and the other in Cherokee County, Oklahoma. The Missouri State Emergency Management Agency has confirmed that the residents of the property in the photos they posted on their Facebook page were accounted for and there were no reports of injuries.
|A confirmed tornado struck just north of Fair Play, Missouri, in Polk County on Friday, Jan. 10, 2020. (Facebook/@MissouriSEMA)|
5:50 p.m. CST Friday:
A radar-confirmed tornado is just south of Fort Worth, Texas, and is heading northeast at 30 mph. The projected path will take the tornado over or very close to the Fort Worth/Spinks Airport.
Farther north, hours of rain have left the northbound lanes of Highway 287 in Decatur, Texas, submerged. The flash flooding caught at least one car.
5:30 p.m. CST Friday:
A new tornado watch has been issued from eastern Texas into southern Missouri that will continue into Friday night. This includes Shreveport, Louisiana, and Little Rock, Arkansas.
A tornado watch means that conditions are conducive for tornado development and that people in the area should closely monitor the weather. If a tornado warning is issued, this means that a tornado is imminent and people should seek shelter immediately.
4 p.m. CST Friday:
By 4 p.m. on Friday, just over 300 flights had already been canceled at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport amid the severe weather, according to FlightAware. Another 344 flights at the airport were delayed.
2:53 p.m. CST Friday:
A radar-confirmed tornado is tracking toward Tahlequah, Oklahoma, moving to the northeast at 45 mph. People in the path of the this tornado need to seek shelter immediately.
The Tahlequah Daily Press reported that the tornado siren system was down at the time of the alert.
1 p.m. CST Friday:
A new tornado watch has been issued for part of eastern Texas, including the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Storms in this area could lead to significant disruptions to the Friday evening commute, especially for those flying into and out of airports being impacted by the storms.
10:43 a.m. CST Friday:
A Tornado Watch was released by the SPC for portions of central and eastern Oklahoma, northwest Arkansas, and southwest Missouri. As thunderstorms continue to intensify in central Oklahoma, the favorable tornadic conditions are expected to spread eastward.
According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell, this is just the third time since 1997 that a Tornado Watch has been issued by the SPC between Jan. 1 and Jan. 10.
7:42 a.m. CST Friday:
In the town of Leedey, Oklahoma, in the western portion of the state, golf ball-sized hail was reported. The 1.75-inch hail was the first reporting connected to the severe weather.
10 p.m. CST Thursday:
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has announced in a press release that he has set numerous resources on standby to prepare for the impending severe weather. According to the Texas Division of Emergency Management, this includes „boats, helicopters, rescue teams, medical strike teams, additional law enforcement and volunteer organizations on standby across the region to ensure the state is ready to respond to any requests from local government officials.”
A large, powerhouse storm is poised to deliver a variety of nasty weather to the central, southern and eastern U.S. starting Friday, which will last into the weekend.
Widespread severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and tornadoes are expected across the South on Friday and Saturday, while heavy rain and flooding are possible from the Plains to the Mississippi and Ohio valleys.
Meanwhile, heavy snow and ice will lead to dangerous travel from the Plains to New England.
Tornadoes and flooding
The Storm Prediction Center said more than 20 million people in Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas and Oklahoma will be at an enhanced risk of storms Friday that could include strong tornadoes and flooding rains. The area includes several major Texas cities including Dallas, Houston and Austin.
In a briefing early Friday, the National Weather Service said the storms could bring wind gusts of up to 80 mph or faster, the speed of a Category 1 hurricane.
In Dallas, the city’s Office of Emergency Management asked residents to bring in pets, outdoor furniture, grills “and anything else that could be caught up in high winds to reduce the risk of flying debris.”
Matt Hemingway, a weather service meteorologist in Shreveport, Louisiana, said “we could see some very strong tornadoes – possibly those that may stay on the ground for some time – not just the brief spin-up tornadoes.”
Severe storms continue into the South
The severe storm threat will continue overnight in the South, focusing on Alabama and Mississippi on Saturday.
The storm also will deliver heavy rain that could lead to flash floods and river floods from the Ohio Valley to the Lower Mississippi Valley, the National Weather Service said.
The latest forecasts call for up to 4 inches of rain in parts of Texas and southeast Oklahoma, according to the weather service.
„The rain is forecast to really ramp up Friday to Saturday morning from eastern Texas to southern Michigan,” said AccuWeather meteorologist Courtney Travis.
950 earthquakes have hit Puerto Rico so far this year: Why? Blame it on an ‘earthquake swarm’
Snow from the Plains to New England
Snow and ice will be the story from the Plains to New England. „A wintry mix of snow, sleet, and rain/freezing rain is possible in portions of the Southern/Central Plains into the Middle Mississippi Valley and northeastward into the Great Lakes Friday into Sunday,” the National Weather Service said.
Enough heavy snow and ice can accumulate during the event to raise the risk of power outages and broken tree limbs, AccuWeather said. Power may be out for several days in some communities.
Not to be outdone, the Pacific Northwest will have its own weather misery to contend with as a separate storm slams the area: Coastal areas will have periods of moderate rain while higher elevations of the Cascades, Northern Great Basin and the Northern Rockies will have heavy snow, the National Weather Service said.
Snow accumulations may very well reach or exceed 2 feet in the highest peaks of the Cascades, around 1 foot elsewhere.
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Weather: Severe storms, tornadoes to hit from Oklahoma to South
The United States had 14 major weather disasters last year, with a toll of at least 44 dead and a price tag of $45 billion, according to federal officials.
The biggest disasters of 2019 include eight severe storms, mainly in the South and Midwest, three big inland flooding events, two tropical cyclones that made landfall, and the wildfires in California and Alaska.
“The extreme weather with the most widespread impact was the historically persistent and destructive U.S. flooding across more than 15 states. The combined cost of just the Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi River basin flooding ($20 billion) was almost half of the U.S. cost total in 2019,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.
Last year was the second-wettest year on record for the United States, NOAA said.
The contiguous United States saw almost 35 inches of precipitation in 2019, almost five inches above average, the National Centers for Environmental Information reported. Last year was just 0.18 inches short of the record set in 1973, according to federal data.
Some climate data did set new records for the year. Alaska saw its hottest year on record in 2019, climate scientists said.
“Georgia and North Carolina also saw their hottest year on record, while Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin each had their wettest year ever recorded,” according to NOAA.
“During the 2010s, the nation saw a trend of an increasing number of billion-dollar inland flooding events. Even after adjusting for inflation, the U.S. experienced more than twice the number of billion-dollar weather and climate disasters during the 2010s (119) as compared with the 2000s (59),” NOAA said in its annual report.
2019’s biggest weather disasters
Here are the costliest natural disasters in the United States from 2019, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information:
▪ Southeast, Ohio Valley and Northeast Severe Weather, February 2019: “Tornadoes, severe weather and flooding in the south (MS, AL, TN) and high-wind damage across many Ohio Valley (IL, IN, OH) and Northeastern states (CT, MD, MA, NJ, NY, PA, VA, WV). This storm system produced heavy rain that caused major flooding along parts of the Ohio, Mississippi and Tennessee rivers.” Cost: $1.3 billion and two people died.
▪ Missouri River and North Central Flooding, March 2019: “Historic Midwest flooding inundated millions of acres of agriculture, numerous cities and towns, and caused widespread damage to roads, bridges, levees, and dams. The states most affected were Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, South Dakota, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Michigan. This flood was triggered by a powerful storm with heavy precipitation that intensified snow melt and flooding. Of note, the Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska was also severely flooded the third U.S. military base to be damaged by a billion-dollar disaster event over a 6-month period (Sept 2018-Feb 2019). This historic flooding was one of the costliest U.S. inland flooding events on record.” Cost: $10.8 billion and three deaths.
▪ Mississippi River, Midwest and Southern Flooding, March-July 2019: “Additional major flooding impacted many Southern Plains states significantly affecting agriculture, roads, bridges, levees, dams and other assets across many cities and towns. The states most affected were Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, Mississippi and Louisiana. Very high water levels also disrupted barge traffic along the Mississippi River, which negatively impacted a variety of dependent industries. Indiana and Ohio were also affected by persistent heavy rainfall that flooded farmland, which prevented and reduced crop planting by millions of acres.” Cost $6.2 billion and four deaths.
▪ Texas Hail Storm, March 2019: “Texas hail storm over the Dallas metroplex damaged many homes, businesses and vehicles. Oklahoma also received hail damage resulting from the same severe weather system.” Cost: $1.6 billion.
▪ Southern and Eastern Tornadoes and Severe Weather, April 2019: “Tornado outbreak and severe storms impacted many states (TX, LA, MS, AL, GA, NC, OH and PA). More than 50 tornadoes occurred across central Mississippi and Alabama causing damage to vehicles, homes and businesses. More than 25 additional tornadoes also caused damage across several eastern states from Georgia to Pennsylvania. These severe storms also delivered damaging hail and high wind damage that was widespread across many Southern and and Eastern states.” Cost: $1.3 billion and seven people died.
▪ South and Southeast Severe Weather, May 2019: “Persistent severe storms impacted numerous states from Texas to North Carolina (TX, OK, KS, AR, LA, MS, AL, NC). Tornadoes and damaging hail particularly affected Texas, Louisiana and North Carolina focused across the Raleigh metro region.” Cost: $1.5 billion.
▪ Central Severe Weather, May 2019: “Central severe storms across the Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Texas damaged many homes, businesses and vehicles.” Cost: $1 billion.
▪ Arkansas River Flooding, May-June 2019: “Historic flooding impacts the Arkansas River Basin with damage to homes, agriculture, roads, bridges and levees focused across eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas. Thousands of homes, cars and businesses were flooded due a combination of high rivers, levee failure and persistently heavy rainfall from May 20 through June.” Cost: $3 billion and five deaths.
▪ Rockies, Central and Northeast Tornadoes and Severe Weather, May 2019: “A four-day tornado outbreak impacts many states across the Rockies, Central and Northeast (CO, WY, NE, KS, OK, MO, IA, IL, IN, OH, PA and NJ). This outbreak produced 190 tornadoes in addition to hundreds of reports of damaging hail and straight-line thunderstorm winds. Of particular note was an EF-4 tornado that produced heavy damage near the city of Dayton, Ohio on May 27.” Cost: $4.5 billion and three people died.
▪ California and Alaska Wildfires, Summer-Fall 2019: “California experienced a damaging wildfire season in 2019, largely resulting from the Kincade and Saddle Ridge wildfires. In addition, a key California electrical utility provider turned off power to millions of homes and businesses several times during days with forecasted high winds and extremely dry conditions. This step was designed to minimize wildfires, with some success, but it also caused billions of dollars in losses to those affected. Alaska also suffered a near-historic wildfire season with more than 2.5 million acres burned. These wildfire conditions were primed due to Alaska’s record-breaking heat and dry conditions during the summer months. July 2019 was the warmest month ever recorded in Alaska.” Cost: $4.5 billion and three deaths.
▪ Colorado Hail Storms, July 2019: “Colorado hail storms across the Denver and Fort Collins that damaged many homes and vehicles.” Cost $1 billion.
▪ Hurricane Dorian, August-September 2019: “Category 1 hurricane makes landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, after devastating the northern Bahama Islands as a historically-powerful and slow-moving hurricane. Dorian tracked offshore parallel to the Florida, Georgia and South Carolina coastline before making a North Carolina landfall, bringing a destructive sound-side surge that inundated many coastal properties and isolated residents who did not evacuate. Significant flood, severe storm, and tornado damage to many homes and businesses occurred on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.” Cost: $1.6 billion and 10 deaths.
▪ Tropical Storm Imelda, September 2019: “Tropical storm and its remnants cause 24 to 36 inches of rainfall over a 3-day period across a large area between Houston and Beaumont, Texas. The largest storm total, 43.39 inches, was reported at North Fork Taylors Bayou, Texas. Many thousands of homes, cars and businesses were impacted by flood water due to this extraordinarily heavy rainfall. Imelda is yet another of the historically extreme rainfall and flood events that have become a regular occurrence across Southeast Texas over the last 5 years.” Cost: $5 billion and five people died.
▪ Texas Tornadoes and Central Severe Weather, October 2019: “Numerous tornadoes caused widespread damage across northern Dallas damaging thousands of homes, vehicles, businesses and other public infrastructure. Tornadoes up to EF-3 intensity with maximum winds of 140 mph tracked across a large section of highly developed northern Dallas. Additionally high winds and hail damage also caused damage in other states including Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee.” Cost: $1.7 billion and two deaths.
A coyote attacked a 5-year-old boy near the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Chicago on Wednesday, sending him to the hospital.
He was in stable condition, the Chicago Fire Department reported.
Later that day, a coyote bit an adult man on the buttocks, according to news accounts. The man showed up at another Chicago hospital with a minor injury. Since a coyote had not been caught, it was not clear whether the same animal had attacked both people.
Individual attacks, particularly of a child, are frightening. Although such events are rare, they are now common enough in major urban areas to be familiar. The reason is the extraordinary number of coyotes living in densely settled cities.
Coyotes have long been present in much of North America, but since 1900 their range has grown enormously, expanding east, north and south. In more recent decades, they have moved into urban areas. Coyotes have been colonizing the canyons of Los Angeles at least since the 1970s. First seen in the Bronx in the 1990s, coyotes have grown in numbers on the streets of Manhattan and have attacked children in the New York suburbs.
They have really taken to the Chicago area, with an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 coyotes in Cook County, according to Seth Magle, the director of the Urban Wildlife Institute at the Lincoln Park Zoo. He and his colleagues have been studying Chicago coyotes for about 10 years. Given the number of animals there, the attacks are extremely rare, he said.
Their relationship with humans is profoundly complicated. The day before the two attacks, the same Fire Department that took the little boy to the hospital rescued a coyote from Lake Michigan. Chicago Animal Care and Control cared for that coyote by taking it to Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation. It tried to control the second by searching for it.
The reason coyotes move into urban areas seems to be that, like raccoons and white-tailed deer, they can adapt to living around humans. Other canids, like wolves, need space and bigger prey. Coyotes can survive on squirrels, mice, rabbits and birds, which make up most of their diet in Chicago, Magle said. They do not eat much garbage, unlike raccoons, but they do eat some. And by and large, they try to stay out of sight. They do remarkably well in cities, apparently having larger litters than they do in rural areas.
Also, they have similar taste to humans in terms of where they like to live. “Coyotes prefer the richer part of town,” Magle said, perhaps because they are attracted to bigger yards and more places to hide, or perhaps because of better access to garbage. They are, by nature, nocturnal.
“The nature of the urban coyote is to stay out of our way,” he said. “They’re really good at this magic trick of living in the heart of our cities while avoiding us.”
But not always. Anyone in a city where coyotes live has seen them during the day. In 2009, Stanley Gehrt and other researchers at Ohio State University did an analysis of 142 reports of coyote attacks from 1960 to 2006. In Chicago, there were 20 times as many news accounts of coyote attacks in 2005 as there were in the 1990s. About 37% of the attacks appeared to be predatory. Small children are most at risk in this kind of attack.
One question that scientists are asking about urban coyotes is whether they have become more bold, meaning more willing to try new things and take chances.
Roland Kays at North Carolina State University, one of the researchers looking into this question, said that coyotes are incredibly adaptable and that they have a great ability to assess risk. In rural areas, they are very shy around humans, “because a bold coyote is going to get shot.” But in a city, that is probably not an issue.
He suggested that people should not overestimate the danger from coyotes, pointing out that dog bites are overwhelmingly more of a problem than coyote attacks, but people are able to keep that problem in perspective and “don’t freak out when they see a dog.”
He said that in most cases, people should not be worried if they see a coyote, since almost all of the animals want to avoid people. But, he warned, keep an eye on them and be particularly alert if you have small children with you or if the coyotes are acting strangely or approaching people. Rabies is not common in coyotes, but it can occur.
In some attacks, he said, humans had been feeding the coyotes, which makes them less afraid of people. Also, he said, people unwittingly feed coyotes when they put out cat food.
“Don’t feed them,” he said. “And don’t feed feral cats. Coyotes will eat the cat food, and they’ll eat the cats. So if you’re feeding cats, you’re also feeding coyotes. Twice.”
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
© 2020 The New York Times Company
Grey seals come to Helgoland island in the North Sea to give birth
Helgoland (Germany) (AFP) – The birthplace of Germany’s national anthem and a practice bombing range for British airmen after World War II, Helgoland island in the North Sea turns cuddly at the turn of the year as grey seals arrive to give birth.
The Jordsand society, dedicated to preserving North Sea coastal life, has counted more than 520 births since November.
Dozens of tourists come each day to see the white-furred seal pups hop around the beach during the whelping season that lasts into January.
„They’re so close and so lively. I often watch them on TV, but it’s much more exciting to come here,” said Karin, who had made a long trip to the island, also spelled Heligoland in English, from Essen in western Germany.
But two local rangers and Jordsand volunteers must keep the excited fans at a distance of at least 30 metres (100 feet).
Adult seals can grow as large as 300 kilogrammes (660 pounds) and won’t hesitate to bite if they feel threatened.
„Sometimes, the tourists forget the restrictions and get too close. If the seals get too used to people, that has negative consequences in summer,” said ranger Ute Pausch.
„They’ll want to play in the water and they can injure swimmers.”
Wooden boardwalks have been set up to corral the tourists during whelping season.
The challenge has become all the greater as seal numbers have grown in response to rising water temperatures.
Researchers say climate change is behind waters growing 1.6 degrees Celsius (2.9 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer in the past 45 years.
Now, „the seals are more and more numerous, I think it’s because there’s more food around,” said Elmar Ballstaedt, who works for the Jordsand society.
But potential negative effects of global warming could one day outweigh the bonanza for the sea-dwelling mammals, he warned.
„We’re at sea level here. If the water rises, we’ll certainly have new challenges to overcome,” Ballstaedt said.
In the nearer term, the seal year is just getting started on Helgoland.
After three weeks nursing with their mothers, the pups are left to fend for themselves in the North Sea.
But they return to the island in the spring to moult — and to take another turn in front of crowds of tourists and photographers.