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NATIONAL STORM SUMMARY
1st-5th…A spring blizzard that dumped up to 20 inches of snow in parts of the Upper Midwest isn't increasing fears of spring flooding. There wasn't much of a flood threat going into Monday's storm, and the snow that fell was light and without much moisture, according to National Weather Service officials in North Dakota. As much as 10 inches of snow fell in northeast South Dakota, with lesser but still significant amounts to the west. State Climatologist Dennis Todey said the new snow might contribute to some localized flooding as temperatures warm, "but from a larger flood perspective, this doesn't change things too much." Residents of the three states were digging out Tuesday as major roadways reopened—including large stretches of interstate highways in the Dakotas—though many schools in the region started classes late. The National Weather Service said Bismarck set rainfall and snow records Monday for the date: Over half an inch of rain and 8.1 inches of snow. The snowfall smashed the city's previous March 31 record of 1.6 inches set in 1932. The rainfall record that was broken was set in 1877—137 years ago.
Grand Forks set a city snowfall record for the date with 11.5 inches, breaking the 13-year-old record of 4.1 inches. Grafton, to the north of Grand Forks, received the most snow, with 20 inches. In Minnesota, the weather service reported 18 inches of new snow at Thief River Falls and Warren and 16 inches in Salol in Roseau County. To the south, a tornado caused damage at three farms southeast of St. Leo in Yellow Medicine County, but no injuries were reported.
A band of severe weather stretched across a swath of the Midwest and South on Thursday, with hailstorms in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas following a small tornado in suburban St. Louis. Storms slammed the North Texas college city of Denton with hail as large as baseballs, leading to reports of broken windows and other damage. The National Weather Service in Tulsa noted reports of hail up to the size of ping pong balls and strong wind gusts. Arkansas saw one-inch hail, and falling tree limbs knocked out power in western parts of the state. Forecasters said the unsettled weather could spawn other tornadoes later Thursday, notably in southern Missouri, southern Illinois, Arkansas, and western portions of Kentucky. Tornadoes, hail and winds in some cases gusting to 75 mph were possible as part of the storm. Afternoon tornado warnings were issued in central Missouri, but there weren’t any immediate signs that a funnel had touched down or caused damage.
No injuries resulted from the twister that hit University City just west of St. Louis shortly before 5:30 a.m., damaging about 100 homes in winds that reached up to 110 mph, National Weather Service meteorologist Jayson Gosselin said. That system also carried heavy rain — up to 5 inches in parts of Missouri, prompting flash flooding that damaged dozens of homes and forced at least two water rescues. In University City, a densely populated St. Louis County area, the city opened a shelter for evacuees. Gov. Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency. Rainfall was heavy over much of Missouri and western Illinois. The National Weather Service said portions of Johnson County, Mo., had more than 5 inches of rain, causing flash flooding that forced evacuation of some homes in the Warrensburg area. Highway T in Johnson County was closed after rushing water washed out three culverts. At least two drivers had to be rescued from water that swamped their cars. Even a three-person rescue team was briefly imperiled when flood debris clogged their jet skis. They eventually floated to safety. Heavy rains also flooded some roads in Indiana, and conservation officers say they have rescued at least eight people.Top of Form
6th-12th…Severe weather is swept through the southern states on Monday. Tornado warnings were issued before the sun even came up in Alabama. The Storm Prediction Center has already issued a Tornado Watch for parts of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. In all, 67 counties are under the watch until 3 p.m. The same system is also triggering flood and flash flood warnings as it is lifting up and transporting an abundance of Gulf moisture into the South. North and Central Georgia, including Atlanta, will likely pick up an additional 1-2 inches of rain by the afternoon. Minor rivers and stream flooding is a concern for North Georgia where a flood watch is in effect. The storm system will continue its trek through Georgia and South Carolina by the afternoon possibly triggering severe weather into the evening. The thunderstorms will push to the lower Mid-Atlantic states, but as of now it appears they will not be severe. The same system has already inundated Mississippi and Alabama with flood waters. NBC News reports a 9-year-old Mississippi girl is believed to have been swept away in a flash flood. In Alabama, WVTM-TV reported several people had to be rescued from their apartments by raft in a Birmingham suburb. No one was injured. Also overnight, a National Weather Service employee reported up to a foot of water over a roadway in Alabaster, Alabama.
Other impacts from the storms for the Southeast include damaging winds. Emergency mangers for Tuscaloosa County reported several trees down on roads and one falling on a mobile home in Buhl. Some power lines were also taken down.
During the first half of the week, significant precipitation fell across the South. Rainfall topped 4 inches in many locations, triggering some lowland flooding from the lower Mississippi Valley into the Southeast. Farther north, early week rainfall topped an inch in parts of the Ohio Valley, prolonging a period of lowland flooding that had begun in early April. Some of the most extensive flooding affected the White and Wabash River basins in southern Indiana. At week’s end, an impressive spring storm began to take shape over the nation’s mid-section. By April 12, strong thunderstorms with large hail and high winds developed from northeastern Kansas to Michigan. At the same time, unusually cold air began to arrive across the northern Plains. On the morning of April 13, temperatures dipped below 10F in parts of Montana. Early in the week, heavy rain soaked the South. Monroe, LA, netted a daily-record rainfall of 3.82 inches on April 6. The following day, record setting southeastern amounts included 2.52 inches in Alma, GA; 1.64 inches in Greensboro, NC; and 1.63 inches in Danville, VA. Meanwhile, snow blanketed portions of the Rockies and the Intermountain West. On April 6-7, Gothic, CO, received 7 inches of snow in a 24-hour period. Following a period of relatively tranquil weather, stormy conditions developed at week’s end across the nation’s mid-section. On April 12, there were several reports of hail at least 2 inches in diameter In Kansas, Iowa, and Illinois. During the night of April 12-13, thunderstorm wind gusts in Iowa were clocked to 54 mph in Dubuque and 59 mph in davenport. Dubuque also received very heavy rainfall 3.41 inches on April 12-13 aided by a daily-record total of 2.77 inches on the latter date.
13-19th…As cold air swept across the central and eastern U.S. early in the week, rain changed to snow. Widespread but short lived snow accumulations were noted across portions of the Plains, Midwest, and Northeast from April 13-15. In addition, early week rainfall totaled 2 inches or more in many locations from Iowa to Michigan, triggering some lowland flooding in the Great Lakes region. Lowland flooding also developed in parts of the Southeast, as weekly rainfall totaled 2 to 4 inches or more. Farther west, spotty, early week precipitation in the Plains yielded to cold, mostly dry weather. A cold front caused downpours soaked parts of the Midwest and Southeast. Record setting precipitation totals for April 13 included 2.85 inches in N. Little Rock, AR; 2.77 inches in Dubuque, IA; and 2.63 inches in Madison, WI. Rain triggered flooding in a few areas, including parts of Lower Michigan, where the Muskegon River at Evart crested at a record-high level of 3.97 feet above flood stage on April 16. Meanwhile, rain changed to snow across the Plains, resulting in daily record accumulations for April 13 in Pueblo, CO (5.2 inches), and Dalhart, TX (1.0 inch). By April 14, heavy rain swept into the Southeast, while rain continued to change to snow in the front’s wake. Record-setting rainfall amounts for April 14 reached 3.31 inches in Greenwood, MS, and 2.08 inches in Tuscaloosa, AL. Wichita, KS, received snowfall totaling 0.3 inch on April 14, tied with 2007 for its second-latest accumulation on record behind April 23, 2013. In Michigan, April 14-15 snowfall totals of 3.2 inches in Detroit and 1.3 inches in Flint allowed both cities to achieve seasonal snowfall records. Rain and snow showers lingered in the East into April 15, resulting in daily-record amounts of 1.73 inches in Charlotte, NC, and 1.67 inches in Burlington, VT. Record-breaking snowfall totals for April 15 included 2.4 inches in Albany, NY, and 1.1 inches in Dayton, OH. By mid-week, additional snow developed across the north-central U.S. In fact, Marquette, MI, received measurable snow each day from April 14-17, totaling 18.3 inches. In addition, Marquette’s snow depth stood at 28 inches on April 17. In Wisconsin, Rhinelander experienced its fourth-largest April snowfall, with 11.2 inches falling on April 16-17. Rhinelander’s only higher totals occurred with 13.0 inches on April 3-4, 1945, and April 6-7, 1923, along with 12.0 inches on April 6, 1958. During the second half of the week, the focus for heavy precipitation shifted into the Northwest and Southeast. In Washington, daily-record amounts for April 17 totaled 1.71 inches in Quillayute and 0.77 inch in Hoquiam. A day later, record setting rainfall totals for April 18 reached 3.11 inches on St. Simons Island, GA, and 3.07 inches in Pensacola, FL. Combined with earlier rainfall, Pensacola’s weekly total climbed to 7.23 inches. Similarly, in North Carolina, Charlotte’s daily-record total of 2.08 inches on April 19 boosted its weekly rainfall to 4.66 inches. By April 19, beneficial showers overspread the southern Plains where daily-record totals were set in Texas locations such as Midland (0.45 inch) and Lubbock (0.40 inch).
20th-26th…Tornadoes tore through several states Sunday evening as severe weather slammed into parts of the central United States. Authorities confirmed at least nine fatalities: eight in Arkansas and one in Oklahoma. Damage is "widespread" after a tornado hit Mayflower, Arkansas, and there are numerous reports of injuries, said Matt DeCample, a spokesman for the state's governor. Damage is also widespread in Vilonia, north of Little Rock, he said.
"I can't even get down the main street down to the middle of town," Vilonia Mayor James Firestone said. "I am trying to make my way through the downed trees and power lines. What I am seeing, it is a lot of damage. I've been listening to the rescue folks. They're saying people have to be extracted from vehicles. ... It looks pretty bad. From what I understand, there has been a subdivision that's been leveled." In Mayflower, overturned, smashed cars were visible along the freeway as search and rescue teams combed the area. Interstate 40 was shut down as authorities removed debris from the highway after the tornado struck Mayflower, said Arkansas State Patrol spokesman Bill Sadler. Mayflower is roughly 25 miles northwest of Little Rock.
27th-30th…People were plucked off rooftops or climbed into their attics to get away from fast-rising waters when nearly 2 feet of rain fell on the Florida Panhandle and Alabama coast in the span of about 24 hours, the latest bout of severe weather that began with tornadoes in the Midwest. On Wednesday, roads were chewed up into pieces or wiped out entirely and neighborhoods were inundated, making rescues difficult for hundreds of people who called for help when they were caught off guard by the single rainiest day ever recorded in Pensacola. Boats and Humvees zigzagged through the flooded streets to help stranded residents. A car and truck plummeted 25 feet when portions of a scenic highway collapsed, and one Florida woman died when she drove her car into high water, officials said. Near the Alabama-Florida line, water started creeping into Brandi McCoon's mobile home, so her fiancé, Jonathan Brown, wrapped up her nearly 2-year-old son Noah in a blanket and they swam in neck-deep water to their car about 50 feet away.
20th-26th…A pair of weather systems produced widespread precipitation (locally 1 to 2 inches or more) and caused some fieldwork delays from the eastern Plains into the Mississippi Valley. Similar precipitation amounts were noted from the Tennessee Valley into the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic States. However, heavy showers largely bypassed the northern Plains. Elsewhere, late season precipitation fell as far south as central California and the Intermountain West. However, precipitation was not sufficient to appreciably improve California’s bleak water-supply outlook. At week’s end, a significant spring storm began to evolve across the western and central U.S. Early in the week, locally heavy showers dotted the central and southern Plains and the Midwest. Daily record precipitation totals for April 20 included 2.46 inches in Mason City, IA, and 1.44 inches in Childress, TX. By mid-week, shower activity moved into the East and developed across the Northwest. In Washington, daily-record amounts for April 22 reached 0.60 inch in Omak and 0.21 inch in Moses Lake. By April 23, record-setting totals included 2.22 inches in Astoria, OR; 1.63 inches in Hoquiam, WA; and 0.68 inch in Grand Forks, ND. In addition, late season snow affected portions of the nation’s northern tier. Record breaking snowfall totals for April 24 included 3.3 inches in Caribou, ME, and 1.4 inches in Rhinelander, WI. In Minnesota, Duluth (4.3 inches) and International Falls (2.8 inches) also set snowfall records for April 24. Toward week’s end, precipitation spread southward into California and the Great Basin. Record-setting totals for April 25 were set in locations such as Eureka, NV (0.89 inch) and downtown Sacramento, CA (0.66 inch). Late-week snowfall reached 1 to 2 feet or more in parts of the southern Sierra Nevada. Precipitation spread farther inland by April 26, when Flagstaff, AZ, received 5.5 inches of snow and Cedar City, UT, notched a daily record precipitation total of 0.60 inch. High winds preceded and accompanied the Western storminess, with peak gusts on April 26 clocked to 64 mph in Palmdale, CA, and 61 mph in Winslow, AZ.
27th-30th…A large, slow-moving storm system spent much of the week drifting from the upper Midwest into the Great Lakes region, greatly influencing weather conditions across
the majority of the country. The nation’s first major severe Weather outbreak of the year struck parts of the south from April 27-29, resulting in at least 32 tornado-related Fatalities. Meanwhile, extremely heavy rain sparked flooding in several sections of the south and east, Including the northern Mid-Atlantic States, and parts of the eastern gulf coast region. Rain was especially heavy on the 29-30 in southern Alabama and western Florida, where totals reached 10 to 20 inches or more. Farther north, at least 4 inches of rain drenched portions of the northern Mid-Atlantic region and the Tennessee Valley.
Significant precipitation also occurred in many other regions, generally along and Northeast of a line from the western Dakotas to the mouth of the Mississippi River. The rain, mixed with snow at times across the northern Plains. The 3-day severe weather outbreak generated more than 150 Tornadoes, according to preliminary reports, a number greater than the January 1 – April 26 total. On April 27-28, tornado-related fatalities
Were recorded in six states—15 in Arkansas, 10 in Mississippi, two Apiece in Alabama, Iowa, and Tennessee, and one in Oklahoma—due to seven individual tornadoes. The strongest of the tornadoes, both rated EF4 with estimated winds of more than 180 mph, where those that struck central Arkansas (15 deaths in Vilonia) on April 27, and east-central Mississippi (10 deaths in Louisville) on April 28. Overall path lengths for the two EF4 tornadoes were 41.3 miles in Arkansas and 34.3 miles in Mississippi. Meanwhile, historic rainfall drenched the eastern Gulf Coast region. April 29-30 rainfall reached an estimated 20.47 inches in Pensacola, FL, and 11.83 inches In Mobile, AL. Those totals propelled both cities to April rainfall records: 29.53 inches in Pensacola (previously, 24.46 inches in 2005) and 18.09 inches in Mobile (previously, 17.69 inches in 1955). For Pensacola, it also became the wettest month on record, supplanting 24.46 inches in April 2005. April 30 was a particularly wet day in the Mid-Atlantic States, where daily record totals included 5.24 inches In Newark, NJ; 4.97 inches in New York’s Central Park; 4.42 inches in Philadelphia, PA; and 3.99 inches at Virginia’s Dulles Airport. Farther west, the sprawling storm also produced heavy rain in late April across the northern Plains and upper Midwest. Daily record amounts for April 27 reached 2.12 inches in Valentine, NE, and 1.24 inches in Mobridge, SD. The following day, as rain continued in the north-central U.S. and spread across the interior Southeast, daily record amounts included 3.19 inches in Nashville, TN, and 1.58 inches in St. Cloud, MN. Wet snow was also observed in the north-central U.S., where Marquette, MI, netted a daily record total of 4.1 inches on April 29. Farther south, high winds raised dust and lowered Visibilities across parts of the Plains and Southwest. Clines Corners, NM, clocked a peak gust to 66 mph on April 27; Great
Bend, KS, recorded a gust to 62 mph on April 28.
Jim G. Munley, jr.
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