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Severe weather moves into the Mississippi Valley

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 4:59 PM GMT on March 31, 2007

Severe weather continues today across the Plains, where flooding has been the main problem in the past 24 hours. Portions of Texas received up to seven inches of rain in the past day (Figure 1), causing closure of many roads. Seven tornadoes touched down in Texas yesterday, and one near Hallettsville injured three people. Four twisters touched down Thursday, and as many as 70 on Wednesday. The tornado outbreak killed four people on Wednesday. The strongest storm surveyed so far was an EF3 tornado that hit Holly, Colorado, killing one person and injuring eleven. The tornado was unusual in that it did not show up on radar until a few minutes after it touched down, and moved from east to west. Holly was not not under a watch, no warnings were issued, and the town sirens did not go off. Our tools and knowledge are still not good enough to always detect these storms before they touch down, unfortunately. The heavy rains these storms have brought--and the up to six feet of snow in the mountains of Wyoming--should help drought conditions relax in the Plains, though.

Expect the severe weather action to shift to the Mississippi Valley today and Alabama tomorrow. However, the storm system is gradually losing its punch, and we may not see any more tornadoes by Sunday out of the system.

Figure 1. Total storm precipitation estimated by radar for the Dallas/Fort Worth region for the period March 29 - March 31.

Jeff Masters
Hail Storm
Hail Storm
Hail Storm on March 30, 2007. Camp Wood, Texas
Holly Colorado tornado
Holly Colorado tornado
A F4 tornado (winds up to 199 mph) struck Holly, CO on Wednesday, March 28, with only minutes notice. A lot of clean-up has already been done. In this photo, the floor of another home that was completely destroyed ended up in this home. Six homes were completedly destroyed, and at least 65 more were severely damaged, many more sustained some sort of damage. Several farms were also severly damaged or destroyed. A 29 year old mother of two was killed, and 11 more were injured seriously enough to be taken to the hospital.


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