Storms damage homes across US

Wild weekend storms flood upper Midwest, tornadoes damaged homes in the south and mid-Atlantic, and blizzard conditions struck the plains.

BY STEPHANIE BACKUS | BALTIMORE | March 30, 2009


While North Dakota residents watched the Red River crest over the weekend, residents in the Midwest got pummeled with snow on Friday and Saturday, several mobile homes in central Pennsylvania were badly damaged, and residents along the Gulf Coast took shelter from severe thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Parts of Oklahoma got more than a foot of snow in a storm that prompted blizzard warnings from the National Weather Service. There was one death associated with the storm. Gov. Brad Henry declared a state of emergency in 50 counties, hoping to expedite recovery after the snow fell.

Parts of Kansas saw as much as 28 inches of snow. Nine counties saw at least two feet. Thousands of residents were without power from the snow and ice storm.

Residents in Missouri and Illinois, as well as Iowa, southern Wisconsin and Michigan were bracing for the storm later in the weekend. Kansas City residents saw several inches of snow and the Kansas City International Airport was closed for a brief period due to the storm. The amount of precipitation was expected to lessen as the storm moved eastward.

While the snow battered the Midwest, gulf coast residents were seeking shelter from thunderstorms. Tornado warnings were constant Wednesday through Saturday. The outbreak of tornadoes began along the Gulf Coast and continued on Saturday, moving north into Tennessee and Kentucky. Heavy rain was associated with the storms, causing flooding in several communities.

A tornado was confirmed in Corydon, KY, where the Red Cross opened a shelter for displaced residents. The tornado struck the community on Saturday night. High winds and suspected tornadoes also caused damage in the Florida panhandle. Power outages and tree damage were reported, along with minor flooding. Hail was reported in several areas of southern Alabama and Georgia, associated with the line of thunderstorms.

As the storms moved up the eastern seaboard, tornado warnings were issued in the Carolinas late Saturday night and Sunday. The heavy rain has also caused minor flooding in South Carolina.

The storms traveled up the Mid-Atlantic region, causing significant damage in Lancaster and York Counties in south-central Pennsylvania. Five homes were damaged in Lancaster County, but no injuries were reported. Tornadoes are suspected as the cause of the destruction. In York County, several homes had shingle damage, according to a National Weather Service storm damage report. Hail was also reported in several locations in Pennsylvania.

The wild weather did not end with the weekend. Blizzard warnings have been posted in North Dakota, South Dakota and states westward. Up to 20 inches of snow is possible in areas forecasted to have blizzard-like conditions.

Flooding continues on the Red River, though water is receding slowly. Flooding from the high rain totals also plagued the south.

In Texas and the Southwest, as well as Florida, red flag warnings were posted, signaling the high risk for quickly spreading fires. The National Weather Service warned residents in the areas to keep all burning under control and moniter local burn bans.


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