A destructive storm bringing blinding snow to the Great Plains and tornadoes to parts of the south is continuing to march across the United States on Wednesday. The threat of severe weather continues today for for Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle, according to the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma.
More than 18 million people across the south were under the threat of severe storms yesterday, including tornadoes. The National Weather Service in Forth Worth, Texas confirmed five tornadoes across northern Texas as of yesterday afternoon. The destructive line of thunderstorms damaged dozens of businesses and homes and injured several people in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Tarrant County saw three tornadoes with the strongest rating EF-1. There was also an EF-2 tornado packing winds of 125 miles per hour in Wise County.
Based on damage reports and radar, the NWS said Texas could have seen as many as a dozen tornadoes yesterday, but it has not yet confirmed that number.
In Wayne, Oklahoma, a confirmed EF2 tornado was on the ground for at least 3 miles with 120-125 mph winds, knocking out power and damaged homes, according to the NWS.
The storms pushed south and east and in Caddo Parish, Lousiana, authorities continue search and rescue operations after a strong storm Tuesday afternoon. According to the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office, the storms sent one woman to the hospital and two people are confirmed dead. A young boy was found dead in the Pecan Farms area of Keithville, Louisiana, where his home was destroyed by the tornado. The boy’s mother’s body was found nearby under debris, the sheriff’s office confirmed early this morning. The storm hit about 10 miles from Shreveport.
While December tornadoes are more rare, no month of the year is immune to the threats of severe weather in the United States. In December 2021, a violent EF-4 tornado began in northwest Tennessee and moved across western Kentucky. Its 165.7 mile long path length was on the longest tornado track in US history. During the same outbreak, a long-track EF-3 tornado with estimated peak winds of 160 mph also traveled through parts of Tennessee and Kentucky. Those storms killed 57 people and injured over 500.
The same storm system is bringing blizzard warnings from Montana into western Nebraska and Colorado. The NWS said as much as 2 feet is possible in some areas of western South Dakota and northwestern Nebraska, and winds of 50 mph could make it impossible to see outdoors in parts of Nebraska.
The storm is expected to move into the upper Midwest with ice, rain, and snow before heading into the central Appalachians and Northeast on Thursday.