APRIL 2001


1st-7thStrong storms carrying powerful wind and heavy downpours swept through the central Plains on Friday, while rain and some snow fell over the eastern Great Lakes and Adirondacks. Thundershowers pushed across the Northeast as a separate front brought hail and tornadoes to the Midwest.


8th-14thA powerful storm battered the Plains with tornadoes Wednesday, killing at least two people, and parts of Colorado and Wyoming were paralyzed by blowing snow that closed hundreds of miles of highways and the region's biggest airport. A tornado tore through a community food pantry in Iowa, killing one and burying the body in rubble. A tornado also killed a man in Oklahoma. Up to 18 inches of snow fell along the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains and winds gusted to 70 mph, heaping the snow into deep drifts. Parts of Wyoming got up to a foot. All Denver public schools were closed for the first time in more than six years. Nearly 50,000 customers lost power in Colorado. Denver International Airport was shut down for seven hours to avoid the chaos that struck during a 1997 blizzard when thousands of passengers were stranded overnight, spokesman Chuck Cannon said. The blowing snow closed hundreds of miles of Interstate 25 in Colorado, I-70 across eastern Colorado, and I-80 from Wyoming into the Nebraska Panhandle. Hundreds of people were stranded in cars near Colorado Springs, where the airport also was closed. The snowstorm came on the back side of a weather system that also sent a line of severe thunderstorms across the eastern Plains, with tornadoes, hail and high wind causing damage from Texas to Nebraska. A tornado near Coalgate, OK, killed a man and seriously injured his son. In Agency, Iowa, the tornado that hit the food pantry also injured four people, one critically.

A tornado that hit Plainville, Kan., caused major damage to 25 homes, said Joy Moser, a spokeswoman for the state adjutant general's office. No injuries were reported. In the upper Midwest, crews worked in heavy rain to pile up sandbags against rising rivers in South Dakota, southern Minnesota and in the Red River Valley along the Minnesota-North Dakota line. Nearly 40 homes were evacuated Wednesday at Montevideo, at the confluence of the Minnesota and Chippewa rivers. St. Paul, Minn., closed its downtown airport on the banks of the rapidly rising Mississippi River. The air field, closed for a month during 1997 floods, is used by private planes.


22nd-28thA line of rain and thunderstorms slid slowly across the nation's midsection Monday, stretching from the Great Lakes to the Rio Grande Valley. The stormy weather formed along a cold front that stretched out from a low pressure area centered over the upper Great Lakes. Rain fell during the morning from northern Minnesota through Iowa, Missouri and Arkansas into northern Louisiana and extended into the southern tip of Texas. By late afternoon, the line of storms had moved eastward, stretching Michigan through eastern Wisconsin, parts of Indiana and Illinois and the western tips of Kentucky and Tennessee into Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas. A few thunderstorms also formed in southern Louisiana, near the Gulf Coast. Locally heavy rain was reported in parts of Illinois, Wisconsin and northern Minnesota, and snow fell across parts of the eastern Dakotas, northern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin.