Rare December Storm Barrels Across Heartland

December 15, 2021

Nothing to see here.

Washington Post:

Half of the Lower 48 is enduring a dangerous weather event Wednesday as an extremely powerful storm system sweeps through the middle of the country unleashing damaging winds and, in some areas, tornadoes, dust storms and out-of-control fires. So severe are the conditions that the National Weather Service is calling it a “historical weather day.”

Weather alerts of different types affect about 100 million Americans.

“The Central U.S. has never seen a December storm like this,” tweeted Bill Karins, a meteorologist for MSNBC. “Multi-hazard, life-threatening weather today.”

From New Mexico to Michigan, more than 36 million people are under high-wind warnings. Winds of 70 to 100-plus mph have already sheared off roofs, overturned vehicles, toppled trees and caused tens of thousands of power outages while contributing to hazardous ground and air travel.

Amid the high winds, blinding dust storms have swelled over parts of southeast Colorado and western Kansas, with wildfires erupting in Kansas and the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles.

The threat of severe thunderstorms is historically high in the zone from Iowa to southeast Minnesota where the Weather Service declared a level 4 out of 5 risk for severe storms early Wednesday. It had never previously issued a risk forecast at this level in this area during December. If tornadoes strike Minnesota and parts of northern Iowa, it will be a first during the month.

Twisters could even carve through areas blanketed in snow by last week’s storm.

Multiple tornadoes have already touched down in Nebraska and western Iowa as a violent storm complex or derecho charges eastward at breakneck speed.

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