May mayhem: Tornadoes, storms, floods, snow wreak weather havoc across US

May is bringing a wild potpourri of violent weather across a large portion of the nation, with tens of millions of people in the path of the storms.          …

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Lightning strikes a home, storm clouds swirl above parts of Texas and snow blankets a town in Michigan… in May. USA TODAY

May continues to bring a wild potpourri of violent weather across a large portion of the nation, with tens of millions of people in the path of the storms. 

A day after at least a dozen tornadoes ripped through Texas and Oklahoma, more rounds of severe storms slammed portions of the South on Wednesday.  Still more storms were forecast for Thursday

“The severe weather threat on both Wednesday and Thursday will shift away from the wide-open spaces of the High Plains to the more heavily populated areas on the lower Plains & the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys,” AccuWeather warned. Over 13 million people live where severe storms are possible Wednesday, the Storm Prediction Center said.

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The storm threat area on Thursday will be in the Deep South, mainly in Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas and Louisiana. 

Meanwhile, ongoing bouts of drenching rain continue to pelt waterlogged portions of the region, exacerbating relentless flooding. The Houston area was particularly hard hit on Tuesday, as nearly 10 inches of rain soaked the metro area, inundating homes and roads. 

The heavy rain prompted flash flood emergencies in some communities due to rapidly rising floodwaters.

The storms soaked parts of Texas that have been repeatedly hit by flooding in recent years, including the deadly and devastating floods from Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

The sodden weather wasn’t confined to Texas, as the National Weather Service said that “there is ongoing flooding from Texas to Wisconsin…and more rain over the next 3 days will make flooding worse in some locations.”

Evacuations were under way in portions of Kansas, where flooding is forcing people from their homes, closing roads and prompting schools to call off classes.

More than 20 million people live where flooding is possible this week, the weather service said.

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Flooding is likely to continue along a portion of the Mississippi River and perhaps others over the central United States into June as rounds of excessive rain continue, AccuWeather said.

In Missouri, almost a dozen levees already have been breached or threatened in recent days. 

Chris Gamm, presiding commissioner for Pike County, Mo., told USA TODAY that some communities along the Mississippi River have been flooded for two weeks. The county’s levees all blew out over the weekend, he said.

“The governor is going to see if there is some emergency relief we can get from federal and state people,” he said. “Apparently they can’t employ emergency resource assets until the water goes down and they can see the damage. But some areas have been underwater for two weeks.” 

“There are several thousand acres of farmland that are already covered. It’s pretty drastic,” Gamm said.

Wintry North, West

Snow was also expected overnight Wednesday and into Thursday in northeastern Minnesota, far northern Wisconsin, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where a few inches of snow could accumulate, the weather service said.

“Snow is also likely in the West, and accumulating snow could be heavy for higher elevations,” weather service meteorologist Jennifer Tate said. 

Heavy snow is expected to fall over the central Rockies where 1 to 2 feet of new snow is likely through Friday evening. Up to 30 inches of snow is possible for the San Juan mountains of southwestern Colorado and northwestern New Mexico. 

Contributing: The Associated Press; John Bacon, USA TODAY

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