Blizzard, tornadoes, floods hit hard

Records fall as major snowstorm hits North Plains and tornadoes destroy homes in NE, IA

BALTIMORE | October 6, 2013


A wild weather weekend saw residents of western South Dakota digging out from under nearly four-feet of snow while residents of Nebraska and Iowa were trying to begin to put their lives back together after a swarm of tornadoes touched down.

In Kentucky, emergency responders evacuated more than 100, as flash floods hit the Louisville/Jefferson County area. Nearly none-inches of rain was expected to fall by Sunday night.

Meanwhile, off the Gulf Coast, Tropical Storm Karen largely disappeared although its remnants could bring heavy rain to the mid-Atlantic states early this week.

As the snowstorm rolled east out of the Northern Plains, emergency responders were trying to locate all of the more than 80 motorists who had been stranded by the storm. Widespread electrical outages were also reported in the wake of the unusually heavy early fall storm. An official of Black Hills Power, said Sunday morning the company was working to restore power to some 11,000 customers. Early Saturday, about one-third of the utility's customers were without electricity. Crews from Colorado were helping electric companies across the affected region.

At the storm's peak, nearly 400 miles of Interstate 90 was closed in South Dakota and Wyoming. On Sunday morning, the Interstate was reopened in Wyoming but remained closed in portions of South Dakota. Motorists in many parts of the state, including Rapid City, were asked not to drive. The Rapid City Airport, closed since Friday, hoped to open late Sunday. It was the heaviest snowstorm to hit this early in South Dakota since 1919.

Further east, at least 15 people were injured when a tornado touched down in Wayne, NE. The storm reportedly did millions of dollars of damage according to the state emergency management agency. In addition to physical damage, farmers may not be able to harvest corn and soybean fields which are now littered with debris from the buildings that were damaged.

More than 20 homes were destroyed in Woodbury County, Iowa, according to the county's Emergency Management Director Gary Brown. As many as 60 farms were also damaged, he added. It was the first time in 13 years that a tornado had hit an Iowa town in October.


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