Storm System Lashes Huge Area of Central US

It brought tornadoes to Oklahoma and Texas, blizzard threat to Plains region
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 13, 2022 8:12 PM CST
Massive Storm Brings Tornadoes to South, Blizzard Threat to Plains
Evan Freedman, from Los Angeles, puts snow chains on his vehicle as heavy snow falls on Highway 2 near Wrightwood, Calif., on Monday, Dec. 12, 2022.   (Will Lester/The Orange County Register via AP)

A massive storm blowing across the country spawned tornadoes that wrecked homes and injured a handful of people in parts of Oklahoma and Texas, including the Dallas-Fort Worth area, as much of the central United States from the Rocky Mountains to the Midwest braced for blizzard-like conditions. An area stretching from Montana into western Nebraska and Colorado was under blizzard warnings Tuesday and the National Weather Service said as much as 2 feet of snow was possible in some areas of western South Dakota and northwestern Nebraska, the AP reports. Ice and sleet were expected in the eastern Great Plains.

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. The severe weather threat also continues into Wednesday for Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle, according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.

In the South, a line of thunderstorms brought tornadoes, damaging winds, hail and heavy rain across North Texas and Oklahoma in the early morning hours, said National Weather Service meteorologist Tom Bradshaw. Authorities on Tuesday reported dozens of damaged homes and businesses and several people injured in the suburbs and counties stretching north of the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The weather service examined about a dozen different areas across North Texas to determine if Tuesday's damage was caused by high winds or tornadoes. A tornado warning prompted the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport to issue a "shelter in place" order Tuesday morning, asking passengers to move away from windows. A tornado damaged the Oklahoma town of Wayne shortly after 5am Tuesday. There was widespread damage but no deaths or injuries, authorities said,

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In parts of Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota, the National Weather Service warned that up to about half an inch of ice could form and winds could gust up to 45 mph. Power outages, tree damage, falling branches, and hazardous travel conditions threatened the region. All of western Nebraska was under a blizzard warning from Tuesday through Thursday, and the National Weather Service said up to 20 inches of snow was expected in the northwest. In Colorado, all roads were closed in the northeast quadrant of the state. A blizzard warning has been issued on Minnesota’s north shore, and in the south of the state, winds gusting up to 50 mph have 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

(More winter storm stories.)

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