Dangerous hurricanes, tornadoes forecast for Midwest, South US

JACKSON, ma’am. –

Severe storms that hit at least 15 states in the Midwest and southern United States on Friday prompted meteorologists to urge people to brace for dangerous weather including tornadoes, saying the Similar conditions to a week ago triggered a devastating tornado that killed at least 21 people in the United States. Mississippi.

More than 85 million people were given weather advice Friday morning as the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center forecast an unusually large thunderstorm outbreak with the potential to bring hail, gusty winds. and powerful tornadoes can travel over the ground for long distances.

The greatest hurricane risk area lies along a large stretch of the Mississippi River from Wisconsin all the way to Mississippi, with two high-risk advisory areas centered on Memphis, Tennessee, and the border between Iowa and Illinois.

Major population centers at high risk of the storm starting Friday afternoon include Chicago; Saint Louis; Little Rock and Jonesboro, Arkansas; and Des Moines and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. However, Northern Illinois meteorology professor and tornado expert Victor Gensini said people across eastern Iowa, western and northern Illinois and Arkansas should also be prepared.

“There will be a lot of thunderstorms… tornadoes, strong winds and heavy hail,” he said.

Meteorologists say people in those areas should stock up on emergency supplies, prepare for power outages, avoid getting stuck in places prone to falling trees or severe hail, and park their cars indoors. Parking if possible.

Weather forecasters warned of a “relatively rare, severe weather threat” around Chicago that could include strong winds, tornadoes and heavy hail.

In Iowa City, the University of Iowa canceled Friday’s watch party for fans planning to gather for the Women’s Basketball Finals against South Carolina. Athletics deputy director Matt Henderson said in a statement that the decision was made “due to the unpredictable timing of possible extreme weather and storm effects.”

Last Friday night, a violent tornado in Mississippi killed at least 21 people, injured dozens and flattened entire blocks as it created a path of destruction for more than an hour. About 2,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, according to the Mississippi Department of Emergency Management.

The casualty toll was especially high in Sharkey County west of Mississippi, where 13 people were killed in a county of 3,700 residents. Winds of 200 mph (322 km/h) blew through the rural town of Rolling Fork, turning houses into rubble, overturning cars and toppling the town’s water towers.

President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden are scheduled to visit Rolling Fork on Friday.

Gensini said Friday’s atmospheric setup was similar to conditions that were present during the deadly Mississippi hurricane.

The danger forecast is the result of strong southerly winds transporting large amounts of moisture northward from the Gulf of Mexico, where they will interact with a strengthening storm system.

In South Dakota, Governor Kristi Noem ordered the closure of state executive branch offices on Friday in parts of the state, as cold rain, snow and high winds are expected. . Many counties have been warned of blizzards or ice storms.

The weather service is forecasting another strong storm next Tuesday in the same area as last week. Accuweather meteorologist Brandon Buckingham said earlier this week that at least the first 10 days of April will be tough.

Bill Bunting, head of forecasting operations for the weather agency’s Storm Prediction Center, said it’s important for people to have a severe weather plan in place that includes multiple ways to receive storm warnings.

“We have all seen the news of heartbreaking situations in other parts of the country. It is our earnest hope that people heed the forecasts that have been made over the past few days about the threat. threatened on Friday,” Bunting said.


Baumann reported from Bellingham, Washington. AP writer Isabella O’Malley contributed from Philadelphia and Harm Venhuizen contributed from Madison, Wisconsin.


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