Severe weather pounds central US, Northeast; rough holiday weekend ahead (2024)

Millions across the central and eastern U.S. − including in some states that were ravaged by tornadoes earlier this week − are bracing for severe weather as an onslaught of powerful storms pushes ahead into the holiday weekend.

About half the country, from Texas to North Dakota and from Georgia through New England, was at risk of fierce weather conditions on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center.

The biggest threat was concentrated in parts of Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri, an area where winds at speeds of 75-85 mph, large hail and a few tornadoes were "probable" through the afternoon and into the evening, the weather service said.

As the unofficial start of summer approaches, the weekend doesn't look encouraging for outdoor activities either. The weather service said "potentially significant severe thunderstorms,'' including possible tornadoes and large hail, could be on tap for parts of the central and southern Plains on Saturday.

To the east, thunderstorms swept over major cities Thursday, including Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington D.C., frustrating travelers as debris forced road closures and delays piled up. The weather service received reports of 1.5- inch hail in Westchester, New York, tangled power lines in Pennsylvania and toppled trees in New Jersey.

Officials issued a temporary ground stop at LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports in Queens, New York, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. More than 300 flights were delayed and nearly 50 were canceled at LaGuardia by 11 a.m. Airports in Boston, New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Houston also reported delays.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of homes and businesses were without power across the country. In Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, more than 75,000 outages were reported, according to a USA TODAY tracker. In Texas, upward of 110,000 utility customers had no power, while 14,000 outages were reported in Louisiana.

For a week, the central U.S. has been under a constant barrage of potent, sometimes deadly storms. Tornadoes swept across half a dozen states, killing at least five people in Iowa, injuring dozens of others and inflicting widespread damage estimated in the tens of millions of dollars. On Wednesday, suspected tornadoes hit parts of central Texas, destroying homes and triggering rescue operations.

Storms to slam central, eastern US through the weekend

Through the rest of the week and into Memorial Day weekend, rounds of showers and thunderstorms will slam the central U.S. before expanding to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast by Monday.

On Friday, parts of the region, from Texas to the Ohio Valley, will be soaked by passing storms, brining up to 6 inches or rain to some local areas, according to AccuWeather. Outdoor weekend plans will likely be hampered, especially across the Plains and parts of the Midwest, meteorologists warned.

Beach weather along Southeast, Southwest and California

There will be plenty of spots that offer beach weather over the Memorial Day weekend, just not in the Northeast.

The coastal areas from the Southeast to the Southwest are expected to feature temperatures up to the high 80s and into the 90s, and some of the California beaches will be toasty as well. Miami, Tampa, Florida, Houston and Santa Barbara, California, are among the coastal cities where the thermometer is forecast to reach at least 90 degrees.

Accuweather reports that water temperatures figure to range from the mid-70s to the mid-80s in the southern Atlantic coast, depending on location, and will mostly stay in the mid-80s in the Gulf of Mexico. Along the California coast, though, the water will be in the low 60s.

Widespread damage in Temple, Texas

Storms spun up twisters in central Texas on Wednesday, including a tornado that ravaged the city of Temple, about 60 miles north of Austin.

Videos and photos online show windows blown out, ceilings caved in and trees toppled onto homes. Local authorities issued a disaster declaration and urged residents to stay off the roads as a large cleanup and recovery effort began.

Temple Mayor Tim Davis said Thursday no one was badly hurt despite the immense damage.

"This was a very strong and devastating tornado," he said. "There are many people that lost property, many people that lost homes; there were a few injured, thankfully nothing very serious."

While there were was only a few tornado reports Wednesday, there were hundreds of reports of hail and damaging winds across the central and eastern U.S., according to the Storm Prediction Center.

Severe weather pounds central US, Northeast; rough holiday weekend ahead (2)

5 killed, dozens injured in Iowa following strong storms, tornadoes

Greenfield, a small southwestern Iowa town with a population of just over 2,000, got the worst of the storms on Tuesday.

Officials said an EF-3 tornado with 136 to 165 mph winds tore through town, flattening homes and decimating businesses. The Iowa Department of Public Safety said in a statement Wednesday that four people were killed and at least 35 were injured.

Authorities also said a woman was killed when her car was blown off the road near Corning, Iowa, about 30 miles southwest of Greenfield. Teams with the weather service reviewed nearly two dozen reports of tornadoes across Iowa, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois.

Severe weather has been constant across the central U.S since storms pummeled eastern Texas last week, killing eight people in the Houston area and knocking out power for hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses just before an intense heat wave.

National weather radar

Contributing: John Bacon, Kyle Werner, Victoria Reyna-Rodriguez, Jorge L. Ortiz

Severe weather pounds central US, Northeast; rough holiday weekend ahead (2024)


How do you respond to severe weather? ›

Immediate Emergency Actions

If you see or hear threatening weather (i.e., tornado, high winds, lightning, thunder, etc.) or hear that a Warning has been issued for your area. Seek shelter and get inside immediately to an interior room or hallway. Shut all doors and windows. Stay away from exterior windows and doors.

Why are the storms so bad this year? ›

Climate change and history-making weather

The deadly twisters have spawned during a historically bad season for tornadoes, at a time when climate change contributes to the severity of storms around the world. April had the second-highest number of tornadoes on record in the country.

What are the four types of severe weather? ›

Severe Weather 101
  • Thunderstorms. There can be as many as 40,000 thunderstorms each day around the world. ...
  • Tornadoes. Much about tornadoes remains a mystery. ...
  • Floods. Except for heat-related fatalities, more deaths occur from flooding than any other weather-related hazard. ...
  • Lightning. ...
  • Hail. ...
  • Damaging Winds. ...
  • Winter Weather.

Where in the US are thunderstorms most common? ›

Areas over west central Florida experience more thunderstorms per year on average than any other location in the U.S. with > 100 per year (See graph above). Key West averages 64 days per year with thunderstorms with August averaging 14 and July 13 as the 2 most active months for thunderstorms in the Keys.

How do you comment on bad weather? ›

Stormy: To describe a day with thunderstorms or heavy rain, use phrases like “stormy weather,” “torrential downpour,” or “thunder and lightning.” For example, “We had to cancel our plans due to the torrential downpour and thunder and lightning.”

How can you respond to severe emergencies? ›

10 Tips to Keep in Mind When Responding to an Emergency
  1. Avoid Panicking. ...
  2. Ensure Your Safety. ...
  3. The ABCs of Life Support. ...
  4. Check for Bleeding. ...
  5. Check for Signs of Shock. ...
  6. Call 911 or Emergency Services ASAP. ...
  7. Check for Emergency Identification. ...
  8. Loosen the Victim's Clothing.
Jan 20, 2020

What month has the most severe storms? ›

While severe thunderstorms can occur any month of the year, the peak Severe Weather Season is during the spring months of March, April, and May.

How bad will storms be in 2050? ›

Intense hurricanes and typhoons – the most devastating storms on the planet – could more than double by 2050 in nearly all regions of the world because of climate change, scientists reported Wednesday.

Why is the weather so bad in the USA? ›

Two oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, the Rocky Mountains, jutting peninsulas like Florida, clashing storm fronts and the jet stream combine to naturally brew the nastiest of weather. That's only part of it.

What is the deadliest weather condition? ›

Violent winds from a hurricane or tornado, lightning from thunderstorms, and rising floodwaters come to mind. But the weather event that actually produces the greatest number of fatalities is heat.

What is the rarest storm? ›

A portmanteau of Mediterranean hurricanes, medicanes are among the rarest weather phenomenon. These rare cyclones form when a non-tropical storm comes into contact with the warmer temperatures over the Mediterranean.

What type of severe weather causes the most deaths? ›

Heat kills more people in an average year than any other type of extreme weather.

What is the stormiest place on earth? ›

The lake attracts thousands of lightning bolts per night. Lake Maracaibo has a unique geography and climatology ideal for the development of thunderstorms. The lake holds the Guinness World Record for the place with the highest concentration of lightning.

Should you wash your hands or take a shower during a thunderstorm? ›

Avoid plumbing: Metal plumbing and the water inside are both very good conductors of electricity. Therefore, do not wash your hands or dishes, take a shower or bath, do laundry, etc. during a thunderstorm.

Which state in the United States has the most thunderstorm each year? ›

In particular, Florida takes the trophy for most thunderstorms in the U.S., on average, with parts of Florida experiencing thunderstorms more than 100 days per year, on average.

How to respond when someone says they are feeling under the weather? ›

I am incredibly sorry to hear that you are unwell. While you recover, I hope you are surrounded by the warmth of those you love. Get well soon. Hope you feel a little better every day.

How do you respond to weather? ›

Answers such as “It's a sunny day” or “it's warm here today” or “Its cold outside” or “it's cold today” , “the weather is wet”, “it's raining” “”snowing” etc, or even “I haven't been outside so I don't know,” are all perfectly good answers. If you're in the same room, say I was just going to ask you the same thing .

How do you deal with harsh weather? ›

Wear a warm coat, a hat, a scarf, buff or polo neck, and gloves. Layers are best, but remember to remove them as necessary to stop yourself from overheating or perspiring, which can lead to chills. Wear shoes or boots with a good grip to prevent slips and falls on wet or icy surfaces.

How do you respond to a storm? ›

Take refuge in a small interior room, closet, or hallway on the lowest level during the storm. Put as many walls between you and the outside as you can. Stay away from windows, skylights, and glass doors.


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