At least 1 dead as tornadoes tear through Oklahoma, Arkansas and northeast Texas



CNN

An early-winter blast met record fall warmth on Friday, leading to a powerful, severe storm system in the South and the largest tornado threat in the U.S. in more than five months.

At least one person has died in McCurtin County, Oklahoma, which reportedly suffered severe storm damage, according to county emergency manager Cody McDaniel.

Preliminary tallies from the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center showed nine tornadoes forming in Texas, four in Arkansas and one in Oklahoma.

The total is likely to increase during the day on Saturday and everyone’s intensity will not be known until the local NWS office conducts a damage investigation, which could take several days.

Damage was confirmed near Sulphur Springs in Texas, west of Paris and in the northeastern part of the state.

Parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas will have tornado warnings in effect Friday night through midnight as the system moves east.

Weather Card Images Tornado Threat Update 110422

CNN Weather

The tornado damaged at least four homes, the Hopkins County Sheriff’s Office said. No injuries were reported.

Lamar County Police Travis Rhodes told CNN Friday night that in neighboring Lamar County, where Paris is the county seat, “there was a fair amount of damage and some injuries.”

In Oklahoma, a woman was injured by a fallen tree while traveling to a storm shelter, Lewis Collins, a volunteer with the Choctaw Office of Emergency Management, told CNN. He said it was unclear if the tornado passed through the area.

The Storm Forecast Center on Friday highlighted areas of “moderate risk” — Category 5, Category 4 — severe thunderstorms in eastern Texas, southeastern Oklahoma, southwestern Arkansas and northwestern Louisiana.

On Friday, the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area remained at a higher risk — a 3 out of 4.

“The areas most likely to have severe tornadoes [EF2 or higher] It will go south from southeastern Oklahoma into eastern Texas, east of the I-35 corridor,” the forecast center said.

Watches as of midnight include western and central Arkansas, northwestern Louisiana, southeastern Oklahoma and parts of eastern and northeastern Texas, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

In addition to strong tornadoes, hailstones larger than golf balls (2 inches in diameter) to very large hail are possible, according to the Storm Prediction Center.

The main threat will shift from tornadoes Friday afternoon and evening to damaging winds into the night as thunderstorms line up and spread across Arkansas and Louisiana.

Large and damaging wind events are expected to hit parts of the Ark-La-Tex region Friday night as the storm pushes eastward. That’s why the Prediction Center upgraded Friday’s threat level.

The forecast center added: “The storm will continue into the night, moving through much of Louisiana and Arkansas, and into western Mississippi.

The storm system will move rapidly from west to east, which will minimize the chance of flash flooding in the Ark-La-Tex area. Further north, 1 to 4 inches of rain is forecast across a wide area from Kansas to Wisconsin by Saturday.

Rain is desperately needed in the region as a recent drought has driven the Mississippi River to record lows, affecting shipping and supply chains.

A total of 42 million people were at risk of severe storms Friday from Texas to Wisconsin. Houston, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Kansas City and Wichita are also included in the risk zone.

Greater Dallas-Fort Worth area at greater risk last time or higher is May 24th.

While tornadoes in the United States can occur any month of the year, they are most common in the spring due to the collision of hot and cold air as the seasons change. The same temperature consolidation also occurs in the fall, which is why you’ll often see a second “harsh season” later in the year.

“You can see that while spring is our climatologically busiest period, there is a second increase in tornado activity in November,” the National Weather Service in New Orleans said.

Texas had the highest average number of tornadoes in November (7), followed by Alabama (6), Louisiana (5) and Mississippi (5).

The time of day a tornado occurs has a large impact on mortality. Tornadoes are more dangerous at night because many people are asleep, unaware they need to find a safe place. While the larger tornado threat for this particular event exists during the day, some spinning storms are still possible at night.

Make sure you have a severe weather safety plan in place before severe weather hits. Know where you’ll be in bad weather, and make sure your flashlight is working and your phone is fully charged in case you lose power.

“One of the most important features of your severe weather safety plan is having a reliable method of receiving severe weather alerts,” says the New Orleans Weather Service.

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