The San Juan Daily Star
Another round of severe storms expected today from Texas to Illinois
By Jesús Jiménez
As communities across the country Sunday recovered from a powerful storm system that killed at least 32 people in seven states, they have only a couple of days before facing another round of severe weather.
After destructive tornadoes and strong storms barreled through parts of the South, the Midwest and the East on Friday and Saturday, another storm system is expected to develop today, forecasters said.
The system could bring the potential for a “few strong tornadoes,” large hail and damaging wind gusts from Texas to Illinois, the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center said.
Two areas are of great concern today: One stretches from northeast Texas through Arkansas and into southern Missouri, and another takes in northern Missouri, southeast Iowa and much of Illinois.
In these regions, where more than 18 million people live, the center said the risk of severe weather was “enhanced,” the third-highest category on a five-level risk scale.
Marc Chenard, a National Weather Service meteorologist, said that the risks from the storms today could be similar to the storm system that tore through several of the same states Friday and Saturday.
“It looks like, again, there will be the potential for some organized clusters of thunderstorms,” Chenard said, adding that they could produce damaging winds “and even some strong tornadoes.”
Forecast maps for Tuesday bear a resemblance to those of Friday’s storm system, with higher risks for severe weather centered on portions of Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa and Missouri.
Before today storm system, forecasters in Texas were eyeing the possibility of severe weather Sunday over a part of the state that includes the Dallas area.
The weather service reported a tornado was spotted just before 6 p.m. Central time near Thornton, a town about 40 miles east of Waco, Texas.
Dozens of counties in Texas and Louisiana were under tornado warnings or watches Sunday night, after earlier watches in Oklahoma had expired. Six Flags Over Texas, a theme park near Arlington, said it had closed because of the inclement weather. On Sunday night, about 17,000 customers were without power in Arkansas, and about 14,500 were without power in Texas, according to poweroutage.us.
“All severe hazards are possible,” the Storm Prediction Center said on Twitter, adding that large hail, wind gusts of up to 75 mph and “a strong tornado or two” were possible.
Although tornadoes can happen any time of the year, historically, tornado activity in most states tends to peak in the spring. Still, it is uncommon for communities to face such a damaging storm system followed by another just a few days later.
The severe weather of the past two days comes just a week after a destructive storm system ripped through portions of the South, killing at least 26 people and flattening parts of Rolling Fork, Mississippi.
After ravaging at least seven states, the storm system that started Friday continued tracking east Saturday, producing strong winds and heavy rain and prompting temporary ground stops at airports in New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia.
Videos circulated online of a possible tornado on Saturday in Howell Township, New Jersey. The weather service said Sunday it would send out storm survey teams to assess damage there and other portions of New Jersey. Survey teams confirmed on Sunday that a tornado had struck near Jackson Township, New Jersey.
The weather service received more than 300 reports of strong winds Saturday, including one wind gust of 98 mph in Sussex County, Delaware, where officials said one person died in a structure collapse and where the weather service said a tornado struck the area on Saturday.
By Sunday, the weekend storm system had faded and drifted into the Atlantic Ocean, but several states will still be dealing with aftermath of the severe weather.
President Joe Biden on Sunday approved a disaster declaration for three counties in Arkansas, which will provide federal funding for recovery efforts.