More than 300,000 without power in 5 states as severe storms threaten more tornadoes and flooding across South, barrel toward Northeast


A storm system that brought hail and golf-ball-sized tornadoes to the South, produced wind gusts strong enough to overturn tractor-trailer trucks and left more than 300,000 without power continued to march toward the Northeast Friday, threatening torrential rain, more tornadoes and heavy snow. .

The storm system is the same one that dumped snow on parts of California, leaving some trapped in their homes with snow piled up to second-story windows and urging the governor to declare a state of emergency in 13 counties. Many of those affected are now bracing for another round of snow and rain on Saturday.

More than 60 million people are under threat of severe storms Friday, and nearly 80 million people from Texas to Pennsylvania are under a high wind warning, including nearly the entire state of Tennessee.

According to, 310,085 customers were without power in five states as of 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday.

Damaging winds, isolated large hail and a few tornadoes could be seen from southern Indiana through Kentucky and Tennessee and into northeast Alabama and northwest Georgia. Areas are at increased risk for severe storms that could be more widespread and occasionally intense.

Areas on the edge of the increased storm risk area – such as Ohio, central Georgia and Alabama – may see damaging winds and isolated tornadoes as they face a small risk of severe storms.

Nearly 25 million people are under a flood watch from Oklahoma to Ohio, where there is little risk of excessive rainfall. Stronger storms could bring 1 to 2 inches of rain per hour.

As the storm pushes north, “it will create a band of heavy snow from the Upper Midwest to New England on Friday and Saturday,” the National Weather Service he said. “Significant sleet and freezing rain is possible just south of the heaviest snow.”

As much as a foot of snow could be seen in parts of New York and New England.

The storm could bring snow and ice to cities like Chicago and Detroit.

The Storm Prediction Center issued a tornado watch for more than 5 million people in areas of northern Alabama, northwest Georgia, eastern Tennessee and far western North Carolina until 5 p.m. east. The watch includes Birmingham in Alabama, Chattanooga and Knoxville in Tennessee, and Cartersville and Carrollton in Georgia.

The main threats include a few tornadoes, scattered wind gusts up to 80 mph and isolated quarter-sized hail.

A “rapidly moving (line of storms) will spread east-northeast from middle Tennessee and northwest Alabama with damaging winds and embedded tornadoes as the primary risks,” the storm center said.

A tornado was confirmed at 11:12 AM. CT just south of Reidland, Kentucky, moving northeast at 55 mph.

Flood warnings extend about 400 miles across parts of Arkansas, Tennessee, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky and Indiana. Most of the warnings will remain in effect until the morning.

Widespread rainfall of 3 to 5 inches has fallen across the region since Thursday night and 1 to 3 inches more possible through today.

Meanwhile, flood watches are also in effect for more than 20 million people from Arkansas to Ohio.

“Prolonged heavy rainfall associated with training showers and thunderstorms may also lead to flash flooding across much of the Mid-Mississippi and Ohio Valleys extending east into the Mid-Atlantic,” the Weather Prediction Center said Friday morning. .

In Texas, Louisiana and Alabama, storms damaged homes and businesses and caused flight disruptions at airports on Thursday.

Six tornadoes were reported during Thursday’s storms, including five in Texas and one in Louisiana, where dozens of homes were damaged in the city of Shreveport. Across Texas and Oklahoma, there were 18 reports of hail, with the largest hail measuring 1.75 inches in diameter, or about the size of a golf ball.

About 120,000 people in Texas were still without power early Friday, according to the outage tracker, including about 8,000 people in metro Dallas-Fort Worth’s Collin County, where winds were strong enough to knock over four semi-trucks with 18 wheels, causing sections of a highway to be closed, police said a tweet.

Power was restored at the medical facility west of Fort Worth in Weatherford, Texas, where more than half of the town was initially without power and several homes, businesses and city hall were damaged, said city spokesman Blake Rexroat.

After a brief respite from back-to-back winter storms that brought unusually cold temperatures and prompted rare blizzard warnings for parts of the state, northern California is expecting another round of snow starting Saturday.

Until the end of the weekend, 1 to 5 Snow possible in some northern areas, including the Sierra Nevada range.

But many communities blanketed by the latest round of snow have yet to recover, as the snowfall closed critical roads, trapped people in their homes and destroyed vital businesses such as grocery stores.

An 80-year-old woman, Lois Burton, died in a “weather-related” incident in Placer County, County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Angela Musallam told CNN. He did not share the circumstances of the death, although the area where the incident occurred saw heavy snow and near-freezing temperatures Tuesday, CNN forecasters said.

State Route 138 passes through snow-covered trees near Hesperia, California on March 1, 2023.

Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in 13 counties this week, including hard-hit San Bernardino County, where the National Guard arrived Thursday to help rescue snowbound residents.

Some structure fires in San Bernardino County appear to be storm-related, the county fire marshal told CNN. The department said the number of fires is “atypical,” but did not provide an exact number.

Fire officials are investigating the cause of the fires and are working closely with local utility companies, said County Fire Battalion Chief Mike McClintock. CNN contacted Southern California Gas Company, a major provider in the region, about reports of gas leaks.

In the San Bernardino community of Crestline, residents have been brought to a standstill by the heavy snowfall and are beginning to worry about access to supplies as their only local grocery store is closed after its roof caved in from the heavy snow, resident Paul Solo told CNN.

Nearly 100 inches of snow have fallen on Crestline and nearby Lake Arrowhead in the last few days. Aerial footage from CNN affiliate KCAL shows neighborhoods with obscured roads and homes with snow piled against second-story windows.

The only way to get around is by shoveling corridors for emergency exits, Solo said. He added, “Everybody shovels every day and then it’s going to snow another two feet.”

Solo thinks it could be another week or two before the snow clears.

“Until then, we are confined to our home. We couldn’t even leave if we wanted to.”

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