A series of strong storms are moving across the Midwest bringing heavy rain, ice and snow. The weather is also threatening to cause power outages, dangerous driving conditions and possible flooding. There are major flooding concerns in southeastern Wisconsin as that area is getting a lot of unwanted rain. A flood watch is in effect for all of southeastern Wisconsin through Friday. With the recent melting of snow and the additional 3 to 4 inches of rain falling, there’s a very good possibility that serious flooding will occur in flood-prone areas.
The inclement weather is bringing rolling thunderstorms, high winds and hail with very cold air. The weather is very active and dangerous and is taking areas that were enjoying warm, spring-like weather and pushing them quickly back into the grips of winter. As of Wednesday night, there have already been reports of tornadoes with injuries in Arkansas.
What’s causing this wild weather is very cold air dropping down from Canada. As the cold air arrives, it’s bringing snow to some areas as well as thunderstorms and even ice. The threat of severe weather has formed a crescent in the country that stretches from Houston up to St. Louis, on to Pittsburgh and then further to New York City. People living in that portion of the country should be aware of the very real threat of severe weather ranging from heavy thunderstorms to ice and the possibility of tornadoes developing all through the day on Thursday. A foot of snow could fall on some areas Thursday including the Twin Cities of Minnesota and Duluth, certainly the companies that help with property disasters are going to be busy, but for everyone else the misery is going to continue for some time until the cold weather moves out of the region.
The storms that are packing snow, ice and dangerous winds which have knocked out power in communities across the Midwest have prompted the governor of Minnesota to order the state’s National Guard out to help residents Wednesday. The ice has left thousands of that state’s residents in the dark and to make matters worse, the stormy weather is threatening to dump several inches of heavy wet snow in the state by Thursday. The southern portion of Minnesota is being forecast to get anywhere from 7 to 14 inches of new snow from Wednesday night into Thursday.
Thunderstorms are in the forecast for parts of the Southeast Thursday and Friday as a storm system is moving across the region from the west. Strong to severe storms are possible Thursday and Friday along the Gulf Coast from southwest Louisiana to northern/central Florida and southern Georgia. The storm system’s main threats are strong gusting winds, hail, lightening and the possibility of isolated tornadoes.
The Houston, TX area was hit by severe weather Tuesday night. Not far from Houston in the town of Hitchcock, people spent Wednesday repairing windows on their homes and vehicles after an intense hail storm hit the community. The hail that fell there was the size of softballs, shocking residents. Throughout the day Wednesday, wreckers in that town were busy towing heavily damaged vehicles in for repair and contractors were equally busy with roof tarps and temporary property repairs.. Some Hitchcock homes had their roofs cave in from the hail that struck. More than half of the town’s police cars were damaged by the big hail stones while strong gusting winds were responsible for knocking down many tree limbs throughout the area.
The severe weather that moved into Texas caused street flooding in Houston and a house fire in Austin caused by a lightening strike. It also resulted in nearly 50,000 CenterPoint customers losing their electricity in the Houston and Galveston areas. In Marble Falls, TX, 450 cars and SUVs were damaged by hail at an auto dealership resulting in damage estimates in excess of $1 million. A large number of homes in Marble Falls had hail damage ranging from smashed out windows to damaged siding and roofs.
In Austin, the severe weather dumped about 2 inches of rain during rush hour Tuesday evening, snarling traffic and trapping motorists. At least 8 people had to be rescued from their vehicles because of flash flooding on Austin area roadways Tuesday late afternoon and early evening. In one instance, a motorist was plucked from the top of his car by rescuers on an aerial ladder set up precariously atop an overpass.
People living in the Panhandle of Florida can expect heavy rains and severe thunderstorms Thursday. As the severe weather moves eastward, residents of north and central Florida also will have to deal with the threat of severe weather. Moderate to heavy rainfall is being forecast for these areas of Florida which brings with it the possibility of flooding and especially to low lying areas and along streams and rivers.