Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear declared a state of emergency on Saturday due to heavy rain, thunderstorms, tornadoes, hail and high winds that affected the western, eastern and south-central parts of the state.
The weather led to flash flooding, power loss and damage to public infrastructure and private property, according to a statement from the governor’s office.
Tornadoes, floods and other severe weather conditions Saturday night are expected to continue to hit parts of the south caught between a winter storm in the northwest and mild weather in the southeast.
As of Saturday night, much of Kentucky and West Virginia were under a flood warning. Parts of eastern Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama were under tornado watch.
The first day of 2022 has become part of a recent wild-weather eruption, including devastating tornadoes in various states, torrential rains in southern California and Wind gusts in Colorado that fueled a devastating wildfire.
“From very cold winds and total snowfall disrupting travel to severe storms and flash floods, (the weather) will be a treacherous start to 2022,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Peter Mullinax in a statement. online forecast.
In the south on New Years Day, another round of severe storms plagued the region, where dozens of people were killed in tornadoes last month.
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A tornado made landfall in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, causing “severe damage” to downtown businesses, the statement said. A possible tornado landing was reported in Taylor County, Kentucky, and “numerous” homes were damaged. In Columbia, Kentucky, flash floods led to water rescues on Saturday, WBKO-TV reported.
“It is devastating that we are once again experiencing severe weather just weeks after deadly tornadoes struck western Kentucky. Sadly, some counties have been affected by both events,” Beshear said in the statement.
In north Georgia, a tornado hit Newton County Friday night, knocking over power lines, overturning vehicles and uprooting trees, according to the National Weather Service in Atlanta. The storm damaged a school building and left a handful of people slightly injured. The Covington News reported.
“Life-threatening” flash floods, tornadoes, high winds and hail were possible from parts of the Lower Mississippi Valley to the Tennessee and Ohio valleys over the weekend, a forecast from the Weather Prediction Center said. The cities most at risk for severe thunderstorms and tornadoes Saturday night were Birmingham, Alabama and Atlanta.
“The main window for damaging wind gusts, some brief tornadoes and hail is DURING THE NIGHT,” said the National Weather Service in Atlanta. saying On twitter. “Make sure you have several ways to get warnings tonight before you go to sleep, and keep the volume on your phone / weather radio at a level that will wake you up if warnings are issued!”
Mississippi can expect damaging wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph with large hail down to the size of a golf ball. Tornadoes will also be possible. The threat of severe weather is greatest in northern Mississippi, NWS reported.
Severe weather in the south comes as winter storm warnings were set for parts of nine states from the Four Corners region to the Central Plains, and snowfall was possible to halt travel in at least 18 states, senior meteorologist from AccuWeather Alex Sosnowski reported.
In Chicago, 800 flights at O’Hare Airport and more than 250 at Midway Airport were canceled on Saturday due to winter weather. along with coronavirus-related staff shortages.
Heavy snow was expected to spread from the Central Plains to the Mississippi Valley and lower Great Lakes. There is likely up to a foot of snow from northeast Kansas to the Chicago metropolitan area, according to a forecast from the Center for Weather Prediction. Freezing rain and sleet were possible from eastern Kansas to central and northern Missouri and west central Illinois.
“We continue to see snow accumulation on the roads,” the Chicago National Weather Service said. saying on Twitter Saturday afternoon, warning of constant snowfall overnight.
Intense cold was expected to continue across much of the north-central US, where wind chill readings will drop to minus 50 degrees in some areas, including Montana and North Dakota, over the next few days. “Dangerously cold wind chills could cause frostbite burns to exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes,” the National Metereological Service warned.
At the same time, unusual heat could lead to hundreds of record temperatures in the southeastern United States, the Weather Service said. Record highs were forecast Saturday from south and east Texas and across much of the Gulf Coast, the southeast and Florida, and from Florida to the mid-Atlantic on Sunday. Temperatures were expected to skyrocket to 70-80 degrees Celsius.
The first weather of the weekend of 2022 comes after storms soaked through Southern California on Thursday, when downtown Los Angeles posted a December 30 rainfall record of 2.57 inches, breaking the previous daily record set at 1936. according to the National Weather Service.
Meanwhile, extreme winds in Colorado fueled devastating wildfires that destroyed hundreds of homes. Snow helped firefighting efforts on Friday but complicated recovery efforts on Saturday, when the city of Superior shut off the water in the burned areas to prevent the pipes from freezing.
Contribution: Mississippi Clarion-Ledger; The Associated Press
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