Tornadoes Sweep through the Midwest and Plains, 5 killed in Oklahoma

Tornadoes that swept through the Midwest and Plains Saturday and early Sunday killed five persons in Oklahoma and wrecked several homes, damaged a hospital, a hangar at Air Force Base and a number of other structures across the region.
Oklahoma officials reported that 5 people were killed on early Sunday a tornado moved through the northwest town of Woodland and the surrounding areas. Spokeswomen for the Department of Emergency Management, Keli Cain stated that the casualties were confirmed in the Woodward by the state medical examiner’s office.

Officials stated that there were reports of injuries but details about the number of injured people and severity of their injuries were not instantly available. Police authorities in the Woodward stated the search and rescue units from different areas had reached the affected area following the tornado strike.
As per the National Weather Service, the tornado struck the area at 12.18 a.m. on Sunday.
Roscoe Hill, mayor of Woodward, stated that apparently series failed to when the tornado hit, though they were working will when the storms moved through the area on Saturday afternoon. Area with the mixture of residential properties and businesses was struck by the tornado, Hill added.
Reports of storms were also received from Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas.
The National Weather Service issued sobering warnings that weather could turn dangerous during the nightfall considering that all conditions were right for producing strong and dangerous tornadoes. Officials at the weather service were concerned most about the outcome of violent storms striking when people are sleeping, not listening to the weather updates and couldn’t hear sirens for approaching tornadoes.
Plants of the Spirit AeroSystems and Boeing and McConnell Air force Base hangar were damaged in Wichita, Kansas, from a tornado strike. A mobile home park in Wichita sustained heavy damages. There were no reports of injuries or fatalities from the area.
In Iowa, emergency officials stated that the Thurman, a small town of 250 people located in the western region of the state, suffered major damage on Saturday night. Nearly 75% of the town was destroyed. A number of people moved to the City Hall to seek shelter.
The roof of a hospital in Creston, located 75 miles southwest of Des Moines, was damaged. Some of the hospital’s windows were also blown out by a tornado. However, no one was injured.

In Nebraska, baseball-size hail shattered windows and tore away siding from several houses in Petersburg and its surrounding areas.
Chief of operations for the Strom Prediction Center, Bill Bunting warned that the severe storm system could move through the areas of east Texas, Arkansas and the Great Lakes on Sunday.

Southeastern Lower Michigan Community Takes Direct Hit from Tornado

A tornado tore through the community of Dexter in Washtenaw County, Michigan during the late afternoon Thursday, causing widespread damage. Over 100 homes in and around Dexter were either damaged or demolished when the slow moving twister struck. No deaths or serious injuries were reported although affected residents are stunned and shocked as they do not see many tornadoes.

Remnants of homes and businesses were strewn throughout yards and streets in the Huron Farms subdivision of Dexter, which saw the worst damage. Streets in that area were jammed with cars as commuters were returning home from work early Thursday evening. Emergency crews from many surrounding area communities rushed to Dexter to assist with search and rescue operations and to help secure homes and clean up the widespread mess.

In spite of the enormous destruction, safety responders were able to quickly mobilize to see what needed to be done. Both the Salvation Army and American Red Cross were in Dexter Thursday evening, as were physicians and nursing personnel who came to help those with injuries. Many homes in Huron Farms were torn to pieces with their walls, roofs and windows blown off. The National Weather Service called the tornado “significant”. The twister was on the ground for a half an hour, and cut a path of destruction ten miles long. Emergency contractors were working in Dexter to secure buildings all night long.

Hail the size of golf balls and five inches of rain fell over portions of Washtenaw County during the storm. Many properties and streets were flooded in the area. A reported tornado also touched down in Lapeer County with no damages reported there. The storms that slammed southeastern Michigan were a result of unseasonably warm air. Temperatures were hovering between 75 to 80 degrees Thursday afternoon. Around 9,000 homes and businesses were without power Thursday evening resulting from numerous trees, powerlines and poles being knocked down.

All streets and roads in Dexter were shut down as darkness fell. Police were directing traffic. Search and rescue teams were going door-to-door looking for anyone who needed help. A local school was turned into a makeshift shelter. Nearby Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti put out an all-campus take-cover as the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning for the area late Thursday afternoon. At the University of Michigan hospital in neighboring Ann Arbor, patients were taken away from windows and moved into hallways as the severe weather struck.

Flood Concerns for Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana

A storm system that is over the western portion of the US will contribute to a three to four day wet period for portions of Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas later this week. Heavy rains with thunderstorms could unleash large hail, strong winds and a few tornadoes. Some areas could see rainfall amounts between three and five inches while others could get over eight inches of rain.

This amount of rain could result in flash floods. The National Weather Service is expected to post flood watches in anticipation of the approaching system. There are many campgrounds located in this part of the United States where many college students will be spending time on spring break. It is therefore advisable for residents and visitors to the Ark-La-Tex region to keep an eye on weather conditions, reports and warnings.

The Storm Prediction Center or SPC stated Tuesday that a dip in the jet stream over the Southwest will break away from the jet stream to its north and stay in the same region for several days. This is going to result in long-term heavy rain over a large area of the country from the mid South to the western Gulf States starting Thursday and enduring throughout the weekend.

This is the time of year in which home and business owners should be reminded of the dangers of flooding and of the importance of readying their homes and businesses for the possibility of flooding. Flash flooding often occurs in low lying areas in under six hours which is caused by heavy rain. A flood doesn’t have to be a catastrophic event and cost home and business owners thousands of dollars.

If you live in a area which is prone to flooding (Little Rock, Nashville, Tulsa), you should purchase flood insurance now as it takes three months for it to take effect. Do not think that you can rely on government disaster assistance as most of this money is provided in a form of a loan which has to be repaid with interest. This is also the time of the year to make a flood plan which includes making an evacuation route. You should store important documents in a safe, waterproof location and conduct an inventory of your belongings along with taking photographs of your valuables.

Older children and adults should know how to shut off electrical power, gas and water in their homes. If a flood is imminent, it is important to put outside furniture away and to secure unstable items like outside fuel tanks. If you have a sump pump, be sure that it is working correctly. Furnaces, water heaters, washers and dryers should be set up and off the floor on cement blocks. Stay updated about the weather by watching TV reports and listening to local radio for upcoming evacuation instructions.

Threat of Severe Weather This Week From Upper Midwest to Deep South

Threat of Severe Weather This Week

After a brief respite from severe storms over the weekend, the threat of blizzard and wintry storm returns to the Northern Plains this week again.

Last week ended on a violent note in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic with almost 170 total reports of damaging winds, hail and tornadoes.

The renewed spell of severe stormy weather is expected to start on Tuesday and last through Wednesday. Another spell may occur later in the week from a fresh system emerging out of the Rockies and advancing toward the Plains.

Warnings for blizzard and winter storm have been issued for almost all of South Dakota and parts of southern North Dakota as well as for north central Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

Severe thunderstorms can cause extensive damage to homes and other buildings. Water damage caused by severe storms is not only dangerous for your property, but also hazardous for your health. Stranded water or wetness in your home can cause deterioration, swelling, warping and crackling. Furthermore, moist and wet conditions can encourage mold growth in your home. It is important to dry your home completely within 48 hours after flooding to avoid mold development and additional damage.

Severe thunderstorms can create hail, gusty winds and lightening that can cause shingles to be blown off from your roof and impel sharp objects and debris through your walls and windows. After a severe storm, trees and broken branches may fall on your home.

Any sort of damage caused by a severe storm should be reported to your home insurance provider without any delay. You also need the help of a reputable restoration service that can take action quickly to secure your valuable property and belongings.

A well-established restoration company has all the equipment and resources to start water extraction and drying quickly to protect your home from any further damages.

A professional property restoration company will send a certified inspector to inspect your home or business premises for damages, discuss with your home or commercial insurance provider to decide the extent of damage and restoration cost, prepare necessary documents, take photographs or make videos of the damage and carry out needed repairs to restore your home to its pre-damage condition.

National Restoration Network, is a renowned company that provides storm and hail damage restoration services. Some of the property restoration services provided by the company include water extraction, structural drying, debris clean up and removal, roofing, boarding up broken windows and doors, and mold testing and redemption.