Look out southern Midwest!
The past couple weeks have been very stormy in the East Coast, Gulf Coast, and Midwestern regions of the US. Severe thunderstorms are expected to pass through eastern Texas, Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky and up into Indiana and Illinois. These storms could bring huge, damaging chunks of hail, and as much as 7 inches of rainfall in some areas. Forecasters are warning residents in these regions to watch for flashfloods. There is also talk of potential tornado formations, giving sections of Tornado Alley the chance to live up to its name.
Tornadoes rely on severe differences in air mass temperatures to form. The succession of specific air conditions during a severe thunderstorms makes the formation of tornadoes and ground contact generally unlikely, but the risk associated with them is so great that potential warnings in advance are the duty of forecasters. Although the path of a tornado once it actually does make contact is wildly unpredictable, the conditions leading to the tornado itself are very easy to identify, thus issuing tornado watches and warnings are not hard to do.
A severe thunderstorm passed through the D.C. area late on Friday. The small intense thunderstorm did not last long but it did cause a decent amount of damage. As the thunderstorm quickly moved through the area it produced heavy rain, quarter sized hail, strong winds, and lots of lightning. About 4,000 homes and business lost power Friday evening when the thunderstorm knocked down power lines. The hardest hit area were Takoma Park, Maryland and part of D.C. Falling trees caused damage to property and smashed cars. Lucky only minor injures were reported. Two people had to be rescued from Rock Creek State Park because of rushing water.
An out break of severe weather last night and this morning in Texas and Oklahoma caused lots of damage. The storm flooded roads and knocked out power for over 200,000 people in northern Texas. The thunderstorm also produced damaging wind sheer that knocked over trees and caused property damage. The same storm also produced baseball size hail that shattered car wind shields casing people to be sent to the hospital. Along with the flooding, hail, and wind sheer the thunderstorm also spawned at least 14 tornadoes. Which is very impressive. All of the tornadoes were in Texas, so the damage sustained in Oklahoma was not a tornado but due to the wind sheer over 95 mphs. So far there has only been one person reported dead.