Dozens of tornadoes reported as central US braces for rain, wind and hail

More than 40 million Americans in the Midwest are under the threat of severe weather and can expect heavy rain, strong winds and large hail over the weekend.

Posted: May 18, 2019 12:01 PM
Updated: May 18, 2019 12:01 PM

Texans are scrambling for cover Saturday as reports of tornadoes roll in and much of the central US readies for heavy rain, strong winds and large hail.

More than 70 million Americans are under the threat of severe weather from Texas to southern Minnesota, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said. That total on Sunday jumps to 80 million under threat as storms are predicted to move into the Great Lakes area.

A tornado destroyed two homes Saturday morning in Comanche County, Oklahoma, southwest of Oklahoma City, said Ashleigh Hensch, an emergency management spokeswoman there. A tornado in Abilene, in central Texas, caused "widespread damage," CNN affiliated KTXS reported.

Areas of Texas and Oklahoma remain under a tornado watch.

There also are "better chances" for damaging winds and golf ball-sized hail Saturday afternoon and evening across the zone, the National Weather Service said. In eastern Iowa, dense fog is possible as strong thunderstorms take aim.

This is peak tornado season

The Plains have been pounded by strong winds, with at least 34 tornadoes reported since Friday morning across the central US, including Kansas, Nebraska and Texas.

Isolated tornado risks were possible across central and eastern Nebraska and in central and northern Kansas, the federal Storm Prediction Center warned. Wind gusts of up to 70 mph were likely, it said.

This is peak tornado season, CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said, "with an average of 268 tornadoes countrywide during the month of May."

Flood potential spikes again

Several days of warm, sunny weather had seemed to portend a "welcome to summer but that streak will end today," the weather service warned Kansas City on Friday.

"These storms will also produce periods of heavy rain that will once again saturate soils & set the stage for increased flood potential this coming Tue when the next round of heavy rain moves in," the weather service predicted for Missouri.

That's right, there's another round.

Flood threats across the central Plains will remain high through next week, Van Dam said, with rainfall totals ranging from 1 to 5 inches.

"The heavy rain will impact areas that have received significant amounts of rain within the past several weeks," Van Dam said. "The ground remains very saturated and may elevate the flood threat."

Mississippi River flood records broken

The Mississippi River this year has broken records with some of the longest-lasting floods in years. The river in Mississippi has been above flood stage for 133 days straight at Natchez, 90 days at Vicksburg and 89 days at Greenville, the weather service said.

In early May, the Mississippi broke its July 9, 1993 record, after heavy rainfall triggered flooding from Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico, CNN affiliate WQAD reported. The flood gauge in 1993 at Rock Island, Illinois, topped out at 22.63 feet. Its level this month reached 22.64 feet, WQAD said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 515504

Reported Deaths: 10296
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34999558
DeSoto33360432
Hinds32743643
Jackson24906392
Rankin22565405
Lee16455245
Madison14954283
Jones14158248
Forrest13834260
Lauderdale12311323
Lowndes11357193
Lamar10693140
Pearl River9748244
Lafayette8868143
Hancock7849132
Washington7559169
Oktibbeha7229138
Monroe7068179
Pontotoc7033110
Warren6885178
Panola6791135
Neshoba6744210
Marshall6707142
Bolivar6468151
Union643598
Pike5942157
Alcorn5921107
Lincoln5540136
George510680
Prentiss508285
Tippah495683
Itawamba4884107
Scott478999
Tate4777117
Adams4776125
Leflore4749144
Copiah458195
Yazoo458092
Simpson4566117
Wayne443472
Covington434895
Sunflower4319106
Marion4295112
Coahoma4244110
Leake414191
Newton396182
Tishomingo386894
Grenada3789109
Stone366166
Jasper341266
Attala340490
Chickasaw318367
Winston318392
Clay312978
Clarke301695
Calhoun286850
Holmes272889
Smith270552
Yalobusha244947
Tallahatchie232353
Greene225149
Walthall222166
Lawrence220242
Perry214556
Amite210357
Webster206548
Noxubee188843
Montgomery182157
Carroll175441
Jefferson Davis174343
Tunica163539
Benton153139
Kemper145441
Choctaw137027
Claiborne134839
Humphreys132239
Franklin126530
Quitman107828
Wilkinson106139
Jefferson97134
Sharkey65321
Issaquena1957
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 847659

Reported Deaths: 16172
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1163752005
Mobile743371381
Madison53434738
Shelby38413371
Baldwin38171589
Tuscaloosa36131643
Montgomery34571782
Lee25664264
Calhoun22622519
Morgan22527408
Etowah20059520
Marshall18821318
Houston17769426
St. Clair16946359
Limestone16192220
Cullman16140305
Elmore15948295
Lauderdale15055307
Talladega14244302
DeKalb13061271
Walker12138380
Blount10765193
Autauga10545157
Jackson10204195
Coffee9435192
Colbert9363210
Dale9038192
Tallapoosa7283202
Russell710165
Chilton7078170
Covington6967197
Escambia6962144
Franklin6364108
Chambers5795142
Marion5435130
Dallas5302210
Pike5128109
Clarke485686
Lawrence4845130
Winston4785110
Geneva4650136
Bibb435495
Barbour370180
Butler3444101
Marengo342793
Monroe338366
Randolph337767
Pickens334790
Fayette331485
Henry321066
Cherokee319964
Hale318889
Crenshaw261678
Washington256852
Cleburne255460
Lamar253555
Clay252069
Macon245767
Conecuh193562
Coosa185847
Wilcox178338
Lowndes178268
Bullock152745
Perry141840
Sumter139741
Greene130345
Choctaw94328
Out of AL00
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Columbus
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Oxford
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Rain coming in this weekend as a cold front moves through the area bringing cooler temperatures on into the start of next week.
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